Page last updated at 21:40 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Christopher Reid: A Scattering

Christopher Reid. Photograph: Jerry Bauer

Poet Christopher Reid has won the 2009 Costa Book of the Year for his "beautiful and moving" collection of poems A Scattering.

The collection is a tribute to Reid's wife, Lucinda Gane, who died in 2005, and was written during her final illness and after her death.

Here is an excerpt from the book.


Late home one night, I found

she was not yet home herself.

So I got into bed and waited

under my blanket mound,

until I heard her come in

and hurry upstairs.

My back was to the door.

Without turning round,

I greeted her, but my voice

made only a hollow, parched-throated

k-, k-, k- sound,

which I could not convert into words

and which, anyway, lacked

the force to carry.

Nonplussed, but not distraught,

I listened to her undress,

then sidle along the far side

of our bed and lift the covers.

Of course, I'd forgotten she'd died.

Adjusting my arm for the usual

cuddle and caress,

I felt mattress and bedboards

welcome her weight

as she rolled and settled towards me,

but, before I caught her,

it was already too late

and she'd wisped clean away.

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