Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009




ROWE, Elisabeth

Surface Tension



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Poems by Elisabeth Rowe


Elisabeth Rowe read English at Somerville College, Oxford and then taught English for three years at Cheltenham Ladies College. After a period of full-time involvement in family life, she joined the Citizens Advice Bureau service in Devon and Cornwall initially as advice worker, and later as area tutor in Welfare Benefits and Bureau Manager. She then trained as a Social Worker and worked for ten years, mainly with children and families, in Devonport and West Devon, and began writing seriously after retiring in 1997.

She is married, and has three adult off-spring and five grandchildren. She lives on the edge of Dartmoor and spends most of her time travelling, writing both fiction and poetry, enjoying various kinds of energetic outdoor activity and engaging with family and friends. She is a member of the Two Rivers poetry group.

Surface Tension, Elisabeth Rowe's first volume of poetry, includes a wide range of form and tone and embraces a fine balance of descriptive, intellectual, and emotional content. The poems convey an intense relationship with landscape, a gently satirical exploration of human behaviour, and a strong elegiac vein.


The Last Monk

When the last candle gutters and fails

when there is no music but the plainsong
of the wind in the rafters

when the faithful stones
soft and grey like pigeon plumage
lie open to the plundering sky

when my swollen knees are the last
to shape the prayer-worn hollows
at the altar

when there is none left to remember
novice feet hop-scotching down
the street of the dead
for joy of a harvest moon

I, the last soul on the island,
shall set sail

having fashioned a boat
curved and caulked for the final journey

looking for landfall beyond the veil

beyond saints
beyond certainties
solid as green marble

blue as eternity


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: Carl-Gustaf Lilius, Nocturne III (Linocut). © CGL 1928 Helsinki, Finland
Publication: AUTUMN 2003 (69 pages laminated paperback)