(Soundscape Version)

The poem ‘Ten’ was written specifically for a student project.

Kate wrote the poem after seeing the painting ‘Stag at Sharkey’s’.

‘Stag at Sharkey’s’ is a 1909 oil painting by George Wesley Bellows depicting two boxers fighting at Sharkey’s a private athletic club situated across from his studio.

It is part of the Ashcan School movement known in particular for

depicting scenes of daily life in early twentieth century New York City, often in the city’s poorer neighborhoods. Participants in the

boxing ring were usually members of the club, but occasionally outsiders would fight with temporary memberships. These fighters were known as ‘stags’.

There are two audio files available for this poem. Kate was recorded reading the first and the second (below) is a student’s theatrical interpretation of the piece which incorporates a voice actor with a background soundscape creating atmosphere for the imagined setting.


they stand fixed
lost in the club room clatter,
gloves pummel on bruised arms

colours smudge blue
turning to indigo  turning to purple
then back to default red

stung by the ring of the bell
caught in the low lights
a left jab    an upper cut

slipping and swaying
thrown back on the ropes
a right hook  spins him round

flashlights pop   catch the blow
one    two    three    four    five
he lies senseless

his mouth an open O
six    seven    eight    nine
a stranger in his own skin
ten and