Helen Mort


The colour of imaginary rain
falling forever on your old address.
The lilac tint of someone else’s pain.
A bruise beneath the strap of your new dress,
blooming, although you’re sure you never fell,
you’re certain that you never even touched,
no, not with skin. The purple of a well,
a drop, too deep and never deep enough.

A girl immortalised at boarding school,
the cover of an Enid Blyton book.
Her black hair, violet irises, her cool
and level gaze, her white shirt carefully tucked.
A house. The night you dreamed that you weren’t there.
Or how you shut your eyes and met her stare.

Listen to Helen Mort reading this poem on location in Sheffield:

This is the last of six sonnets to be uploaded for The Rose of Temperaments. A ‘variant’ text, with additional input from Geraldine Monk, appears here. Click here to access the index for all six sonnets.