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Poet Profile: Claire Hampson

Welcome to our third poet profile! In this article we'll be looking at Claire Hampson and her poem Scar Tissue - the fourth track of 11 Whispers. It's likely, given the subject matter, that Claire's poem will resonate with many people, as we all know someone who has, or has been affected by cancer. Despite the tough subject, this poem does contain some beautifully harrowing imagery - a delicate dance between smiles and slashes. One part in particular stands out to me: "If you could touch them the skin would shiver/recalling fears like claws of black-winged birds/perched upon my shoulders/singing their familiars." Shortly after, we hear the speaker say, "If you could hear them" - at which point, unintentionally, you can actually hear (albeit faintly) crows or "black-winged birds" cawing in the background beneath the layer of music. You can find out more about Claire's work on her Instagram page @clairehampsonwriter or on her website

Scar Tissue

If you could see the one across my right breast

you’d think it was a smile,

a puckered white curve like the crescent of a moon

stitched tightly to the fabric of my flesh.

It might be drawn by the tip of a pirates’ sword

or so my son once told me.

The villain aimed to pierce my beating heart

missed his spot and left a scarlet slash

vivid as a raspberry ripple streak

in our favourite ice-cream.

If you could touch them the skin would shiver

recalling fears like claws of black-winged birds

perched upon my shoulders

singing their familiars.

If you could hear them.

If you could hear them.

They’d speak a fragile kind of sorrow

slowly turning corners

Not a scream but a hush.

Not a flame but a flicker.

Of what once was.

Tell us about yourself.

I am originally from the UK but migrated over to Australia in 2003 and I have been living in

Sydney ever since. After many years here I joined a fantastic writing group of supportive

people who inspired me to in my wish to become a published author and poet. Being a

member of a writing group is one of the things I couldn’t recommend highly enough to

everybody as writing can be quite a lonely and isolated experience and having people to share the many struggles and rare triumphs is amazing!

Since becoming a member of the writing group, I have had several short stories published in

anthologies and through writing competitions. I have also been lucky enough to work

collaboratively with other creatives on projects. Having my words interpreted by artists and

actors has been such a wonderful experience.

Who inspires you?

I lot of my writing tends to focus on subjects that are particularly centred around female

issues; especially dealing with mental health, identity and belonging. I am inspired by many

writers and creatives but especially people who are trying to juggle other aspects of their life

and still manage to find time to carve out a creative outlet. It is often so hard for me to do this

and when I work collaboratively with other creatives, I realise I am not alone: we support

each other.

Are you working on anything at the moment?

My latest project involves writing more more poetry and short fiction concerning women’s

experience of loss, trauma, motherhood and experiences of healing and enlightenment.

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