‘Polynya’: a poem by Helen Mort


‘Poetry And – Women in the Arctic’, a free event – in partnership with Hercules Editions curated by Ruth Padel, with poet Helen Mort, travel author and biographer Sara Wheeler, and award-winning artist Emma Stibbon, takes place on Tuesday 16 October in King’s College London’s unique space Chapters on the Strand, 7-9.30pm. Please register for this free event, with free drinks reception after, here

Below is a poem by Helen from her sequence The Singing Glacier, recently published by Hercules Editions.






Surely the heart
must have polynya -
places where it’s never
hardened into ice.

I say you make
me melt
and I’m lying again

beside you
my body is already
water running
so cold
it freezes
the teeth

and the child
I never was
in the stream
and makes
her hands
into a cup

the shape of a heart,
or her best
of one.


Helen Mort

About Helen Mort

Helen Mort has published two poetry collections with Chatto & Windus, 'Division Street' (2013) and 'No Map Could Show Them' (2015). Her work has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Costa Prize. Her first novel 'Black Car Burning' is forthcoming from Chatto in 2019. She currently teaches Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.