Julia Copus: a poem



Love, Like Water

Tumbling from some far-flung cloud

into your bathroom alone, to sleeve

a toe, five toes, a metatarsal arch,

it does its best to feign indifference

to the body, but will go on creeping

up to the neck till it's reading the skin

like braille, though you're certain it sees

under the surface of things and knows

the routes your nerves take as they branch

from the mind, which lately has been curling

in on itself like the spine of a dog

as it circles a patch of ground to sleep.

Now through the dappled window,

propped open slightly for the heat,

a light rain is composing

the lake it falls into, the way a lover's hand

composes the body it touches – Love,

like water! How it gives and gives,

wearing the deepest of grooves in our sides

and filling them up again, ever so gently

wounding us, making us whole.


Julia Copus was born in London in 1969, a stone’s throw from the Young Vic theatre, and now lives in Somerset. She has won First Prize in the National Poetry Competition and the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, and has been shortlisted for both the T S Eliot Prize and the Costa Poetry Award. Her fourth collection, Girlhood (Faber, 2019), has recently been shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry. In 2018, Julia was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.