Sonnet for the Lost Girls from School – Pam Thompson

Sonnet for the Lost Girls from School

Awake, I think of Julia Pearce,
and her father – his bad moods, his prosthetic eye,

the way she made herself faint at break time, and worse,
how she hated me; the reasons why.

As the storm acts up, I put her in the maze at Wistow,
measuring corn with a retractable tape.

Near a space where seeds haven’t grown
I pull on her hood, switch on her torch and let her stoop

there, but not for long, in just this type of weather.
I see her smile that isn’t really a smile

as if she’s woken, or come round, to gather
thoughts of what? her car, parked nearby? I’ll watch for a mile

or so before she breaks down and I zoom out
of the rain, into sleep that’s disturbing and torchlit.


Pam Thompson is a poet and educator based in Leicester. Her publications include The Japan Quiz ( Redbeck Press, 2009) and Show Date and Time (Smith | Doorstop, 2006) and Strange Fashion (Pindrop Press, 2017). Pam is a 2019 Hawthornden Fellow.



4 thoughts on “Sonnet for the Lost Girls from School – Pam Thompson

  1. Conveys a disturbed, perhaps febrile, mind state, on the border of wakefulness and sleep. Scenes of a troubled time populated with flashes of schoolday memories, interlaced with the suggestion of traumatic events. Images, some rational, some hallucinatory, hover on the brink of wakefulness and consciousness. The poem hauntingly raises questions: why are the girls lost, how did Mr Peace lose his eye (perhaps a homophone for his name is suggested), what did Julia do that was worse than self-induced fainting, why did she hate the ‘narrator-dreamer’ of this poem; why is ‘corn’ being measured, why haven’t some ‘seeds’ grown – and do both of these allude to the fate of the girls themselves? Surely ‘breaks down’ is a loaded phrase. I very much admire the device of the torch in the poem, ending ‘torchlit’ … and I admire the craft of the sonnet, especially the unobtrusive rhyme. Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

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