rvs_250x250Ruth Sharman is an English poet based in Bath. Her poems have appeared in a number of anthologies, and in national newspapers and magazines.

Scarlet Tiger, winner of the 2016 Straid Collection Award, is Ruth Sharman’s second full length collection of poetry and is published by Templar.

Her first collection, Birth of the Owl Butterflies, was published by Picador, and the title poem won second prize in the Arvon International Poetry Competition. The poem also appears on one of the International Baccalaureate’s English exam papers.

Ruth’s poems have featured on Radio 4’s Something Understood, The Song Inside (broadcast along with an interview in January 2015), and in a short film by Jesse Lawrence entitled Borderlands, part of a sequence exploring the theme of special places, and the relationship between place, inspiration and art.

Ruth read Modern Languages at Cambridge and went on to publish a PhD under the title The Cansos and Sirventes of the Troubadour Giraut de Borneil.

She lives with her son and works as a freelance editor and French translator.

By Heart

Because we’re running out of time
for you to talk and me to listen,
I want to get things straight –

to know which brood of Holly Blue
feeds on ivy, spring or summer,
and what distinguishes the Gatekeeper

from the Meadow Brown, at twenty feet.
To hear you talk of flight patterns
and favourite plants, how Wood Whites drift

like snowflakes in the sun,
and even where the Devil’s Bit persists,
the Marsh Fritillary’s now rare.

I want you to remind me what was special
about that Hairstreak with the W
scrawled in white across its underwing –

as if knowing cancelled absence
and a father could be hoarded
piecemeal with the facts –

and, just in case, I’m keeping count
of all the times we’ve watched
and waited and given names to things,

remembering what you say
about natural things growing subtler
the more they’re magnified,

while the opposite seems true for us;
and how we tried to stir up clouds of wings
by hurling branches at a summer oak

and only caught a glimpse of silver –
though we knew for sure a whole colony
was feeding there, high up on the honeydew



In Borderlands, a short film by Jesse Lawrence, Ruth Sharman walks to an unassuming Neolithic Long Barrow, on the way revealing the themes that inform her work.

Watch the film on Vimeo here