“Daily Bread”, by Fiona Sampson

Sometimes it’s just the daily bread
of thought just the visible			
being itself (a cup of coffee
carried to a window seat

where varnished woodwork shines		
in the morning light) sometimes 		
small things reveal to you			
how you’re alive and how you live

sometimes there’s no remission		
no trumpet no voice of God
in Levantine splendour only
this blur of steam like a breath

and the word lying below it
waiting to be spoken you can’t
quite make it out what is it			
humming all day out of hearing.

(from The Catch Penguin Random House 2016)

Fiona Sampson is a leading British poet and writer, published in thirty-eight languages, who has received international awards in the US, India, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, of the English Association and of the Wordsworth Trust, she’s published twenty-seven books and received an MBE for Services to Literature. She has served on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature and is a Trustee of the Royal Literary Fund. Other honours include the Newdigate Prize, Cholmondeley Prize, Hawthornden Fellowship, and awards from the Arts Councils of England and of Wales, Society of Authors, Poetry Book Society and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, as well as various Book of the Year selections. She’s also a broadcaster and newspaper critic, librettist and literary translator, and was editor of Poetry Review 2005-12. Her internationally acclaimed In Search of Mary Shelley was shortlisted for the Biographers Club Slightly Foxed Prize. She recently received two major European prizes, the 2019 Naim Frashëri Laureateship of Albania and Macedonia, and the 2020 European Lyric Atlas Prize, Bosnia. Two Way Mirror, her biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was published in February 2021, and will be forthcoming in the US in August 2021. She is Emeritus Professor of Poetry, Roehampton University.

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