Caught by the River

Foxglove Country

10th September 2022

A poem by Zaffar Kunial.

Sometimes I like to hide in the word
foxgloves – in the middle of foxgloves.
The xgl is hard to say, out of the England
of its harbouring word.
Alone it becomes a small tangle,
a witch’s thimble, hard-to-toll bell,
elvish door to a door. Xgl
a place with a locked beginning
then a snag, a gl
like the little Englands of my grief,
a knotted dark that locks light
in glisten, glow, glint, gleam
and Oberon’s banks of eglantine
which closes in on the opening
of Gulliver whose shrunken gul
says ‘rose’ in my fatherland.
Meanwhile, in the motherland, the xg
is almost the thumb of a lost mitten,
an impossible interior, deeper than forests
and further in. And deeper inland
is the gulp, the gulf, the gap, the grip 
that goes before love.


Taken from Zaffar’s upcoming collection ‘England’s Green’, published by Faber on 22nd September. Pre-order a copy here.

Zaffar reads as part of our lineup for Camp Good Life festival in Hawarden, Wales, next week. More information here.