Rebecca Sharp

Rebecca Sharp


You can see the earlier attempts. Marks traced in paint 
that dried sometime in the 1700s. A hair trapped forever 
in the gesture of stroking a line into life, the family nose. 
Room after room filled with portraits. 

On the hill, a post angles languidly in a web of slack wire. 
Impasto stacks colonies of conifer and pine
over an Iron Age burial mound. My foot strikes a line:
a tangle of steel while I was trying to avoid 

the obvious pun of relativity. It never did stop the deer – 	
since we’re at it again, down below. Plotting manoeuvres, 
glossing our paths. As if gun like a wand could be waved
in the forest and this time eradicate foes. 

A decrepit wooden lookout leers at the track, the whole place 
a death-trap, silent – except for it’s not. The futility
of a hatch to let dogs through the fence, or their ghosts, 
as if they’re still tied to the chase. 

The old mill pond, so-called, runs sludge to the Abbey. 
I nudge the route-marker to see if it changes its mind –
to point down, and not down to the castle on the edge 
of its lawns with its comings and goings, but down 

to the others, who buried their dead on a hill within sight 
of the river. A stone marks the spot where they watch 
as we chasten our layers in gilt frames, as if brush 
like a wand could fix how this goes. 

Notes: Italian for repentance, from pentirsi – to repent or change your mind. A term in painting, where there’s visible evidence of the artist making changes or painting over an earlier composition. Impasto, Italian for mixture, where paint is laid thickly so that brushstrokes or knife marks are visible.

Rebecca Sharp
Rebecca Sharp

Rebecca Sharp is a poet, playwright and interdisciplinary artist from Glasgow, living in Fife. Rough Currency (Tapsalteerie 2021) received a Literature Matters Award (Royal Society of Literature) and an Art of Energy Award (Centre for Energy Ethics). Pentimento is from her new collection Long Field Loop (Tapsalteerie, May 2024).