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The Lodger

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You could figure it as a trapdoor,
blur of hinge and
                         down
into the unconscious of this stranger
moving around your garden like a trap—
making all the greens unstable
as the warble of nausea come bang up to greet you.
Bang to rights
is how he'd like to have your house. Cuckoo,
wool-wearing garden-dweller,
new-age Salvationist, holy among your cow-parsley
and roses.
               Meanwhile, the unaccustomed heat.
Meanwhile, a sky tunnelling upward—
sense of proportion—golden section
of elder hedge; then the disgraceful paddock gone wild.

Source: Poetry (December 2007)

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Lodger

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  • Fiona Sampsonwas born in London and trained as a violinist. Her early musical studies and professional career as a musician in Europe influenced her editing and writing. She studied at Oxford University and received a PhD in the philosophy of language from Nijmegen University in the Netherlands. Her poetry collections include Folding the Real (2001); The Distance Between Us (2005), a novel in verse; Common Prayer (2007); and Rough Music (2010).
    Sampson’s poetry shows an attention to sound and the visual presence of poetry on the page.  Ruth Padel described Sampson’s style in the Guardian: “The tone is controlled and lightly pitched; there is a lovely surface smoothness with the rough.” The attention to the aural qualities of poetry has also made its way into her essays: On Listening (2007) and Music Lessons: The Newcastle Poetry Lectures (2011).
    Sampson’s academic studies led to a concentration on the connection of writing to health,...

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