Obsessed with the wall overhanging impossibly,
the climber’s body contorts, monkeys into the rock
against all the laws of gravity – chalked fingers
straining like the drowned man who clutched
at straws. After how many failed attempts
does he lunge for the last hold?
You switch off the TV, wonder what happened
to the classroom, glue and wet paint, a teacher
telling you that you could be a pilot, an astronaut,
and you taking the long way home down an avenue
of trees, that were all the proof you needed
of high places, that whispered climb.
~ Sophie Clarke
Sophie Clarke is studying for an MSt in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. She has had poems published in Poetry Review, Popshot and Fuselit, as well as ezines like Pomegranate, Cadaverine and Streetcake. Recently, she was accepted onto the Aldeburgh Eight Advanced Seminar, won first prize in the inaugural Poetry Book Society Student Poetry Competition, and was shortlisted for Oxford University’s Martin Starkie Prize For Poetry. The latest issue of national climbing magazine Summit includes a feature on her poetry.
Featured photograph by Aiez Mirza