The Body Like a Glacier
W.N. Herbert

moves through time. Like a glacier containing
the skeleton of a whale moves through time.
The skeleton, believing itself to be alive,
dreams that the ice is its translucent flesh,

the glen its road. The skeleton of a whale,
believing the gride of glacier against glen
to be its song, supposes that long groan
of its self within its shelf must be how

song resounds inside its skull. The wreck
of a whaler, embedded within the ice,
imagines it is still pursuing the whale
so slowly and for so long that it dreams

it must be the whale’s soul, sundered
somehow, and scudding to catch it up,
to be reunited with it at the exact moment
when glacier, whale, and whaler meet the sea.

W.N. Herbert was born in Dundee. He is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University and was Dundee's inaugural Makar from 2013 to 2018. His collections include Forked Tongue (1994), Cabaret McGonagall (1996), The Laurelude (1998), The Big Bumper Book of Troy (2002), Bad Shaman Blues (2006), Omnesia (2013) and The Wreck of the Fathership (2020). Twice shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, his collections have also been shortlisted for the Forward Prize, McVities Prize, Saltire Awards and Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award. Four are Poetry Book Society Recommendations. In 2014 he was awarded a Cholmondeley Prize for his poetry, and an honorary doctorate from Dundee University. In 2015 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

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