Tag Archives: North Pennines

A poem to read in the bath… ‘Lark & Merlin’ by Tom Pickard #poetry #nature

Tom Pickard grew up in the working class suburbs of Newcastle upon Tyne and left school at fourteen. Three years later he met poet Basil Bunting and Pickard began his life as a poet. His background in the North East is the spine of his work, local words and slang inhabit his work, but two recent volumes have taken him to the isolated countryside of the Borders where England meets Scotland. Most magical of all this work is ‘Lark & Merlin’ is about the dance between a man and a woman; like the hunting/courting flight of two birds – the lark and the merlin – diving and flying, tossed in the wind as memories are tossed in the middle of the night.

Tom Pickard

Tom Pickard [photo: Charles Smith]

‘Lark & Merlin’ is included in Pickard’s Fiends Fell, a combination of journal entries and poems, telling of one year in his life on a bleak fell in Northern England. Pickard is now working on the second edition of Fiends Fell.

This poem is subject to copyright restrictions. Please search for the full poem in an anthology or at your local library.

‘Lark & Merlin’

a wren,

perched on a hawthorn

low enough to skip

the scalping winds,


sang a scalpel song


sea frets drift

sheer along shorelines

Listen to Tom Pickard read ‘Lark & Merlin’ here.
Tom Pickard BUY THE BOOK

Read the first lines of ‘After a Row’ by Tom Pickard.

Read these other excerpts and find a new poet to love:-
Sounds of the Day’ by Norman MacCaig 
‘A Shropshire Lad: loveliest of trees, the cherry now’ by AE Housman 
‘The Road not Taken’ by Robert Frost

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A #poem to read in the bath: ‘Lark & Merlin’ by Tom Pickard https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4n4 via @SandraDanby