mid- August scree – Jean Atkin

I only recently discovered Jean Atkin. This is a lovely example of her work.

mid- August scree

bootset to rock stack, sheer

…………under its wedged weight

my own

………..sends each stone

down by half a pace,

………..glance up to map

a path not there, just

…………you above, you don’t

look back……. I slip,

…………feel heart rate leap

and clutch one-handed

…………into bilberries

that aren’t yet ripe

Jean Atkin’s new collection ‘How Time is in Fields’ is forthcoming from IDP in spring 2019. Previous publications include ‘Not Lost Since Last Time’ (Oversteps Books).  Recent work appears in The Rialto, Magma, Lighthouse, Agenda and Ambit.  She works as a poet in education and community and is currently Troubadour of the Hills for Ledbury Poetry Festival. www.jeanatkin.com

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Voice

I have
no voice

lost it, perhaps

or merely
forgotten it

This sickness
has changed me
is changing me

turning me
inside out

No
not like a hurricane
or a quick
tornado

More like
a piece of laundry
left out on the line
in a thunderstorm,
twisted out of shape

In the complicated
process
of freeing myself
I have forgotten
my song
forgotten
to sing

I am still
hanging limply
on the line
practicing
sounds
whispering
words
looking
for my voice
in the midst
of the loud
shrieking
of this illness

And I wonder
if
learning to listen
comes first

 

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A Warm Breath


I falter
a lot

Today


I have been
asking questions

Lots of why questions
Some when questions
Lots and lots
of what now questions

And then I felt myself falter
Yet again

I think sometimes
something
as innocent
as a warm breath
can cause a loss
of balance

Yes


But also
a missed
Heartbeat

And so I falter
and catch myself
without waiting
for that warm breath
or a reason
for my heart to beat

Today
I am a lover

of me.

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