Radio - Lure by alison Lock

FOUR years ago, the writer Alison Lock slipped and fell into a millpond while walking on the Yorkshire moors. She does not remember falling, her back fracturing in seven places, but she recalls every second of clawing her way to safety.

Once healed, she returned to the millpond, looked at her reflection, the rocks that had broken her and created Lure, a terrific sequence of poetry describing her near-death experience and recovery.

“I am back to that moment / lured / as if my reflection has slipped / and I am falling into the unretrievable.”

She remembers the still water. She falls, pushes upwards, a dog waits patiently on the bank. “I cannot climb / I cannot rise / I cannot move / So is it here that I will die?”

Alison sinks into the water: “I hear the pop that is silence.” She describes going under, “I am dreaming /eyes wide open” and the first stirrings of fear, “There is no air / just water/ more water fills my mouth/ my ears/ my lungs.” The moor blurs as she tries to pull herself out of the water: “I know before too long / I will freeze.”

She grabs at heather, but it breaks: “Made fragile / by the ice and wind / of a moorland winter.” Finally, a root saves her and she crawls onto land: “All memories float / my mind is a feather in flight.”

A song comes to her and she moves to its rhythm, wondering if she will ever be found.

Eventually Alison is rescued and taken to hospital – where machines, screens and scans, pockets, pens and fobs contrast with the wildness of the moor, while she is “a snail on the garden path / the fragile shell of me is crushed”.

Fitted with a brace, Alison returns home. Confined to her bed she thinks of drowning over and over again. Slowly, the repair of her body is accompanied by the restoration of her poetry: “Now I have the words / And I have hope.”

Lure is a stunning account of survival and self-healing, complemented by Will Gregory’s evocative music, Alex Balanescu’s haunting violin and vocals by Hazel Mills. 

• BBC Radio 3/ BBC Sounds

Originally published by Camden New Journal