Read a New Poem by Michael Longley

'The Snowdrops' is taken from the award-winning Belfast poet's new illustrated collection Sea Asters

Michael Longley has had an outstanding year so far. In March the poet received the Freedom of Belfast, cementing his life's contribution to the city's arts and culture with the highest honour that can be bestowed upon its citizens.

Then earlier this month the acclaimed writer won the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize for 2015, receiving $65,000 from the international awards body in recognition of his poem 'The Stairwell'. The shortlist included such prominent poets as Spencer Reece and Eleanor Goodman.

Now, Longley's latest collection Sea Asters presents nine previously unpublished works, beautifully illustrated by daughter Sarah Longley and bound in a limited Fine Press edition. Taken from the collection is 'The Snowdrops', which you can enjoy as an exclusive taster below, before entering to win a copy in our competitions section.

The Snowdrops by Michael Longley

Inauspicious between headstones

On Angel Hill, wintry love-

The Snowdrops

Tokens for Murdo, Alistair,

Duncan, home from the trenches,

Back in Balmacara and Kyle,

Cameronians, Gordon Highlanders

Clambering on hands and knees

Up the steep path to this graveyard

The snowdrops whiten, green-

Hemmed frost piercers, buttonhole

Or posy, Candlemas bells

For soldiers who come here on leave

And rest against rusting railings

Like out-of-breath pallbearers.

Sea Asters by Michael Longley is now available to buy as a Standard, Deluxe or Presentation edition from Fine Press Poetry.