Read the wonderful submissions for our free verse poetry callout, “Run On”…
Out to dry/ by Keir Aitken
My arms can no longer hold you upside down
yet your absence shakes me by the ankles
love clattering down like change
collected for luck not value
My glasses slip off as you hang me out to dry
eye blurry without a you to focus on
My hair dries quicker upside down
but loses its baby curls
You can’t know how I feel your breath
as a wingbeat that starts a storm
blowing me into your fathers’ socks
and grannies jaggy knickers
My feat pegged in place, in pain
Nana’s blouse is awffy crumpled
Her embroidery was asking for you
Stitches of ‘been no hitches?’
Crochet of ‘is he… okay?’
Your gravity pulls my dress over my eyes
exposed and unknowing
A gust of voice notes gives me a glimpse from underneath
though a day too late to save me from church fair embarrassment
I felt like a rag of a mother
Your father’s right sock dropped yesterday.
He can’t walk at the moment.
I thought we were moving forward
turns out it’s a rotating washing line
Clipped from my feet,
I wonder if this is how you see the moon too?
Blood in my cheeks,
I’ll be stained by the time you collect me
only to fold me neatly and put me away
Will respond 2 these asap
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All’s well x
window seat or aisle?/ by Anna Shabi
reaching out, past the golden half-hope of this summer,
past the tangled bloom-stems of affection blossomed both and withered.
to unbind the overlapping flower-fingers of my yearning is (as yet) beyond me:
to stretch the fathoms of this chasm called Alone between the journey home
and the journey home, again, will be (always) beyond me.
I am, as Blaschka’s blooms, of glass,
but melt me into molten and embolden me; not shattered but reshaped,
kept constant in identity through years of liminality—
burnt back as gorse-fire, yet still, reaching out,
past the endless hope of sky and straight through the sun.
River Thames/ by Clea Morris
‘River Thames’ explores how ancient things and thought – like rivers, and religion – occupy a critical space both defined by, and yet in defiance of, linear time. Day-to-day, individual actions, on the other hand, might be characterised by their relation to the tangible passing of time – time which might be delineated into recognisable chunks, or specific moments: birthday, lunchtime, running-late, death-day. ‘River Thames’ is preoccupied with the point at which these ‘timelines’ intersect – here, at the daily, ritualistic commute (or, pilgrimage) across the Thames – and the extent to which such moments render distant, ancient entities immediate, relevant, or somehow within reach.
pick their way across
suspended, as it is, by strings
of tightly-coiled steel.
a whole world lilts and swirls
zebra-pelt lashings of
blue against brown.
Their footfall sings
A metronomic hymn
To the river beneath –
finding reason in its ridges:
rise, and fall.
a God-ordained geography of
and light-mirrored creeks.
a stained-glass surface which both
reflects and reveals
the mud underneath.
people move across this space:
a subliminal act of faith.
Thank you, water,
For your shape,
For the yawning gape
Of your unrelenting streams.