Waiting for Awen by Sophie McKeand

Waiting for Awen by Sophie McKeand | A.i.R

This piece about Sophie McKeand‘s Waiting for Awen poem is part of the new Wales Arts Review ‘Artists in Residence’ line-up series. Throughout 2017 these artists, including Sophie McKeand will take a leading creative role in what Wales Arts Review publishes, centring their skills on a challenging project over the course of a month. We were inundated with applications, receiving hundreds of emails about the positions, and it was no easy task whittling down all that talent to this final eleven. Our team of six editors debated long into the night, and in the end, we decided on a collection of people who we most want to work with, and whose work excites us. We think you will be excited by them too.

Sophie McKeand is a writer of water and earth, of migration and roots. These threads of poetry are woven throughout McKeand’s life in celebration of the kaleidoscopic forces that make up the unnameable essence of being.

These new residency poems follow on from The Politics of Authenticity parts one and two blogs posted in December.

*NOTE* This is a recreation of the poem therefore, the formatting may have slight errors. The correct formatting is to the left.

Waiting for Awen Sophie McKeand
Correct formatting of Waiting for Awen by Sophie McKeand

Waiting for Awen
by Sophie McKeand


Standing at the station you watch for Awen.
A tannoy announces she is late (or you are early).
snowflake manuscripts are cradled onto slush piles by the hot air of mouths –
dissolve into warm piss and

You wait where the tracks are well worn as the next three trains
and exit
each one stuffed like a writer’s bookshelf each one whispering    Awen-Awen

You are on the wrong platform, a moon-face states eyeing the texts wrapped
around your frame.
You shrug. Their eyes are cameras. You are a smear across the lense.

Another train departs. Another missed opportunity.
Another moon face – perhaps you don’t want it enough.

A childhood line crystallises in the fog
‘I want doesn’t get’ toy mouth and exit the station.

Outside you blow alphabets onto cold fingers; scramble the skull mountain
of a winter afternoon; poke fingers into eye sockets of dead poets for leverage.

Halfway up, already exhausted you twist to witness the people stacked on trains and
shiver to imagine how far ahead they are by now    Awen-Awen

Reaching the dark summit, frosted mulch crunches as
you crawl. Your hands are badger’s paws foraging through the ice-crusted
     earth of your
ribcage for
               a seed.
Deeper you rummage, snapping rib and root until
your elongated weasel nose unearths an acorn: one. seed. of. truth.

The ritual begins.
The ground is cleared.
The acorn planted.

               You wake with roots for lungs.
You will cough earth and lies for six years      and with
each aspiration whisper



Sophie McKeand is one of the selected artists to contribute to Wales Arts Review as part of the 2017 Artists in Residence line-up series.