Run On…

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 

                   Millenium Bridge

suspended, as it is, by strings

                   of tightly-coiled steel.

a whole world lilts and swirls

                   beneath them,

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

                   moving mountains,

                   and hills,

                   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.