What's the magic of this poem? Ritual and prophecy play a part. And perhaps prayer too. Of course, poems worth knowing often require an act of homage themselves – 'going/back to the same place until it knows you'.

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Sarah, Picador poetry editor


On each visit the waves would follow me down
the narrow street in sentences breaking out
of language to tell me homage means going
back to the same place until it knows you –

and I’d hesitate, listening for the way we came
out of the sea with our hands in a vow of give
and take to its turning page which reads
the narrow street leads to a double key.

Pilgrim's Flower

'Homage' is published in Rachael Boast's collection Pilgrim's Flower.