Richard Thomas

You Said I Can Nurture


But I’m breathless and caustic

like a seal in a whale kitchen,

some-Tymes I struggle to swallow

and the whale does me instead,


like a seal in a whale kitchen,

I evaporate often and inhuman

and the whale does me, instead

of waking I sideways-roll,


I evaporate often and inhuman,

hardly the typical human rule

of walking, I sideways-roll,

perhaps I awkwardly hoverboard,


hardly the typical human rule

but I’m breathless and caustic,

perhaps, I awkwardly hoverboard,

some-Tymes I struggle to swallow.

Richard Thomas resides in Plymouth, UK, with a BA in Creative Writing from Plymouth University. His first collection ‘The Strangest Thankyou’ (2012) and pamphlet ‘Zygote Poems’ (2015) were published by Cultured Llama, and his poetry and haiku have appeared in journals internationally. Of creative writing publications, he edited Symmetry Pebbles, co-edited Thief, and was Managing Editor of INK.

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‘You Said I Can Nurture’ is taken from Richard’s book ‘Zygote Poems’, which tackles the subject “of becoming and being a father for the first time, and having anxiety. This particular poem was written of a moment in which I was worried about my physical health in fact, hence ‘breathless and caustic’. I suffer from M.E, and with such a condition there’s this constant fear of our health deteriorating and then letting people down as a consequence.” He says that his health is not mentioned in the poem explicitly, for the sake of relatability, “and there’s also the element of general worry that a lot of about-to-be-parents experience: ‘Am I good enough?’ I mean, I’m “hardly the typical human rule”, am I?”.  The form is taken from the pantoum, which “I’ve then played around with in the last stanza and done away with the rhyme scheme (I like experimenting with tradition in this way).” The pantoum is based around repetition which “I thought would do well to emphasise these worries circling round and round the mind. Here’s the clincher though: I did it, and I have a daughter who seemingly thinks I’m the best thing since boiled eggs. That’s the message I hope Zygote Poems, as a whole, passes on — that everything will be okay.”


Find a little review of Richard’s ‘Zygote Poems’ — here!

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