Monday, February 16, 2015

The Deer -- Helen Mort


The deer my mother swears to God we never saw,
the ones that stepped between the trees
on pound-coin-coloured hooves,
I’d bring them up each teatime in the holidays

and they were brighter every time I did;
more supple than the otters we waited for
at Ullapool, more graceful than the kingfisher
that darned the river south of Rannoch Moor.

Five years on, in that same house, I rose
for water in the middle of the night and watched
my mother at the window, looking out
to where the forest lapped the garden’s edge.

From where she stood, I saw them stealing
through the pines and they must have been closer
than before, because I had no memory
of those fish-bone ribs, that ragged fur,
their eyes, like hers, that flickered back
towards whatever followed them.

In addition to being a poet, Ms. Mort also has an article in Psychological Medicine:

Mason, O., Mort, H., & Woo, J. (2014). Research Letter: Investigating psychotic traits in poets Psychological Medicine, 1-3 DOI: 10.1017/S0033291714002670

Neuroskeptic discusses the study here. It's on the relationship between psychosis and poetry.

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