Robert Hamberger poet

Robert Hamberger has been shortlisted for a Forward prize and featured on The Guardian’s Poem of the Week website. He has three collections and Blue Wallpaper is forthcoming from Waterloo Press.



Being the Sea

This morning
gulls float on my skin like a hand
across a forehead, the skim of it
feeling my chill, my fever.

One wave cuffs another like heartbeats,
my eardrum pulsing whenever I dream.
Fish spurt through me in glittery shoals,
the nets half-empty on a late afternoon
although a shark still hangs by my quayside,
the suede of its fin stroking my finger.

My edge casts a handful of pebbles
an inch from your ankle.
My tide shoves rocky heaves
hard against crashed weather.
Hours sway past turquoise to gun-metal,
peach to flamingo when the sun gives up.

Scrunch your heels beside my ebb.
Listen tonight at last for my hiss:
it’s nearly a promise, almost a threat
in the moon’s white dazzle over black shallows,
my cloak of oceans, my marvellous deep.


The Pig in the Morning

The pig in the morning, when I queue
on the road to work, knows better than me.
She knows the bell-like sway of her saggy
teats as she trots from the slop bucket to
the gate. Her raised snout sniffs that slack brew:
the swill, the mud, her dung, the scummy
water. It smells like happiness, this simplicity,
though I can’t judge. All I know is my view
of her pink and black patched size, her weight,
the stocky dance of her steps by the fence,
the pennants of her ears tapping her fat
noble head. So much for my reliance
on wages, work, these wheels, not being late.
Her bum and belly lumber. Her jowls bounce.
[An earlier version of ‘Being The Sea’ was published previously in Agenda and ‘The Pig In The Morning’ was published previously in The North.]
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