Poems by Pamela Wilkie
Pamela Wilkie shared Cambridge supervisions with Antonia Byatt and Sylvia Plath, after which she went far - to Algeria, Brazil, Madagascar, The Philippines, and Washington D.C., where she qualified and worked as a speech-language pathologist. She returned to Britain in 1986 for family reasons, and began to write in the bracing airs of Brighton and then Edinburgh. Over many years she has lived from time to time in Italy.
Voyager is Pamela Wilkie’s first full collection. Poems within it have appeared in various leading magazines and newspapers and have won prizes in major competitions.
’Pam Wilkie’s haunting poems are a rare combination of verbal and imagistic exactness with a profound and steady-eyed humaneness. We don’t feel got at by her parables of suffering and injustice; but then, when we look away from the page, we realise we feel all the worse about it because we’ve not been preached at.’
A clammy man
whose circumspect hands have been around
too many cold limbs.
Decorously he works within the law
as, distantly, he walked along the wards.
Do not ask him to vouchsafe
anything beyond the appropriate medication
or the relevant referral.
Do not expect him to laugh
at your death-defying little jokes
or to encourage chat about the weather
in the clinic’s sterile zone.
You’re here for the examination; pass or fail,
it’s immaterial to him.
Never mistake him for a Doctor of Divinity
or Philosophy or other alternative medicine.
He studied at a very eminent School
and Affability was not an option.
Not like your red-blood universities of life.
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: 'Ring Tailed Lemur'. Painting by Oenone Hammersley, FRGS.
Publication: AUTUMN 1997 (66 pages laminated paperback)