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.

Blues

Most of us can simply say
that it’s a butterfly,
and that it’s small and blue

but you see a border,
a certain arrangement of dots,
the faintest shift towards silver

or turquoise … and, even on the wing,
can tell the Chalk-Hill
from the Holly or the Common Blue.

You’d like to find Adonis
but we’ve missed his brief season
by a week or two and you decide

there are fewer Marbled Whites,
fewer Peacocks, Painted Ladies
since last time you were here

(though to me the whole hillside
seems alive with wings), fewer
harebells and trefoil.

We’re walking on earthworks
on a day so clear that from up here
we can look across four counties

and out across the hills which men
whose bones lie buried in this chalk
once scanned for fires,

who saw forests where we see fields,
but the same convergence of sea and sky
in that ambiguous band of blue.

But you’re focusing on butterflies,
not the view, and I’m content to follow
and look for what you want to find,

surprised how easily I catch
a tiny Hairstreak and hold it
for a moment in my hand.

(from Birth of the Owl Butterflies, Picador, 1997)

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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