DiscoverDickens and Quips - Poetry Pod01 Sam Tate and Rachel Long
01 Sam Tate and Rachel Long

01 Sam Tate and Rachel Long

Update: 2020-09-14


Welcome to the first ever episode of Dickens and Quips!

This week we have Sam Tate on the show and I shall be reading from My Darling from the Lions by Rachel Long.

Find Sam at @samtatepoet on Facebook, Twitter and Insta

Rachel Long is @rachelnalong on Twitter. #

We are at

Twitter: @dickensandquips

Instagram: @dickensandquips


Prompt for this week is "I dance in my own head" and you don't have to be an established poet to submit a poem.

Featured poems:

Night Vigil

I was a choir-girl. Real angel

-lightning-faced and giant for my age.

Mum let us stay up late

if we went with her to night vigil.

It started at midnight, a time too exciting to fathom.

How the minute and the hour stood to attention!

During Three Members' Prayer, my sister fell asleep

under a chair, so she never knew

how I sang. Or how I fell silent

when the evangelist with smiling eyes said in his pulpit voice

Here, child.

Had she woken, I would have told her, Sleep, sleep!

so she'd never know Smiling Eyes

also meant teeth,

or that he had blown candle for hands,

with which he led me down an incensed corridor,

and I followed.

by Rachel Long from My Darling from the Lions

Orion’s Belt

We sat in the pub,

surrounded by poets,

conjoined from hip to knee.

We walked, smiling,

swapping stories of

ridiculous siblings, giggling.

You showed me how

to spot Orion.

By his belt

and disco shoulders, you said.

Not sure if it was

invitation or starlight

in your eyes, I left.

On the train home,

Orion mocked me from his

celestial dance floor.

by Dee Dickens

A Little Closer to the Edge 

Young enough to believe nothing

will change them, they step, hand-in-hand,

into the bomb crater. The night full

of black teeth. His faux Rolex, weeks

from shattering against her cheek, now dims

like a miniature moon behind her hair.

In this version the snake is headless — stilled

like a cord unraveled from the lovers’ ankles.

He lifts her white cotton skirt, revealing

another hour. His hand. His hands. The syllables

inside them. O father, O foreshadow, press

into her — as the field shreds itself

with cricket cries. Show me how ruin makes a home

out of hip bones. O mother,

O minutehand, teach me

how to hold a man the way thirst

holds water. Let every river envy

our mouths. Let every kiss hit the body

like a season. Where apples thunder

the earth with red hooves. & I am your son.


Poetry Foundation


You are yellow;

The colour of sunshine,

reflecting off the white of my skin.

It’s… blinding.

The sun shining,

finding the milky-way whites of my eyes.

The light was drawn

into the dark stone well

of my pupils –

and the colour is


What was block yellow,

bold and defiant against the darkness,

casting shadows

like an excorcist –

is, now, less.

The shade has become opaque;

I can see it,

blurring the factory settings

of my optical input.

I can see through it.

And I have to wonder

what palet the world would take

if you took away your filter.

Would my eyes sing out in monochrome?;

Could I ever grow to know

the pastel kiss of flowers?;

The violent strokes of neon?;

The duality of sky and sea,

as my feet softly dig

into the golden freckles

of the beach?

Or, would I be resigned to graphite?;

My sight surrendered

to the two-hundred and fifty-six shades of grey?

Along the left bone of my hip,

‘LOVE WINS’ is tattooed

in the colours of pride.

The yellow ‘E’ is fading;

slowly disappearing from my skin.

Tell me, will the colour ever stand out again?

By Sam Tate

Line that makes you go OOOOH!

"Girl, you're the blackest you ever might be in here"

From Communion by Rachel Long

Next week, How To Carry Fire by Christina Thatcher









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01 Sam Tate and Rachel Long

01 Sam Tate and Rachel Long