Thursday, 3 August 2017

3 poems by Kitty Coles

Snow Fell

grimly, unstoppably. I watched it fall,
imagining February '63,
the great freeze of that winter,
whiteness, whiteness, and filth
where whiteness soiled and churned to slush.

This was a dream, and in the dream
I thought the words 'snow fell'
would open my great novel,
in which I fictionalised my dream experience
as the biographer of Sylvia Plath,
living through winter, writing about her
in other winters, writing, wintering.

I watched the snowfall from a leaded window.
The house was very tall.
Pedestrians appeared the size of fieldmice.
There was a postbox
and they struggled to it,
wearing red scarves that bloomed
like hothouse flowers.
Everything else was monochrome, ice-hard.

There was a demon living in the house,
wearing a woman's shape,
a cardigan. I'd thought she was
my friend, till she confided
that she'd killed Sylvia Plath,
and smiled at me,
saying she shared
this revelation with me
so I'd include it in my upcoming book
and cause shockwaves
across the writing world.

Kitty lives in Surrey and works as a senior adviser for a charity supporting disabled people. Her poems have appeared in magazines including Mslexia, Iota, Obsessed With Pipework, The Interpreter's House, The Frogmore Papers and Envoi. She is one of the two winners of the Indigo Dreams 2016 Pamphlet Prize and her debut pamphlet, Seal Wife, will be published in August 2017.

First published on 02/02/2017

The Pain

Drops from on high, sudden as an inkblot,
seeps its Rorschach fingers through clear water.

It stirs and churns, dark birds against pale sky.
Its bills come into play, its eager claws.

It creeps my bones like insects, like an army.
It colonises, takes up residence.

It spreads its roots, weighs anchor, builds a nest,
flooding the limbs like lava or like blood.

I wear it like a coat. It wraps me tight
and blankets me in dark for days and days.

Like ivy, it winds me with creeping arms.
It feeds itself on me, grows sleek and fat,

a kraken-squid breaking the ocean's surface,
claiming my territory as its own.

Kitty lives in Lightwater, Surrey, and works as an adviser for a charity supporting disabled people. She has been writing since she was a child and her poetry has appeared in magazines including Mslexia, Iota, Obsessed With Pipework, The Interpreter's House, Frogmore Papers and Ink Sweat and Tears.

First published 21/07/2016


You were the best of all my progeny,
chip of my soul, a sprite of fire and air.
I watched you grow, I taught you how to be,
believed you pure as the breath I made you with,
blood of my blood, eyes wet with my own tears,
gave you my hair and nails, dear voodoo imp.

It was from love for you I turned you loose.
You bayed for freedom and I set you free
to scuttle like a leaf down night-time streets.
I feared the wind would blow you in the river,
feet stomp you flat, a starved cat gulp you down,
but set my fears aside to please you, heart-mouse.

Now you're full grown, o how you disappoint me!
You're dirty faced and pick up dirty habits.
Your words are scraped from gutters, dregs of bottles.
You strut like a cock on a muckheap, crow and cackle.
You're red of wattle, feet scabby as a pigeon's,
rat-toothed and greedy, muncher of old peelings.

Your clothes are heavy with ribbons, tawdry sequins,
you seize in your magpie fists and scarper with.
Your nails grow long and click like a dog's
as you beetle up walls, through windows,
in search of gewgaws. The sound of them scares
decent people indoors, closing their curtains.
O ram of many horns, o mucky baby,
o bull-bellied roarer, o my nasty pet!

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