Change – for National Poetry Day: Kathryn Alderman, Rachel Burns, Jo Young




a flit of feather on bone
you came uninvited

lodged under my sternum
shook ice from down
and thrummed it through my veins

I tried to turn you out
but your cold eye never slept
when I hid in dark
you crowed all night

outside the school gates
other mothers set smiles
and glances sideways
as though the tenant pecking
at my chest
was an affectation
an actor in search
of an audience

in my dreams I reset
a snapped sapling
hold it upright until
it buttresses the wall

a caw escapes my throat
when it reaches the top branches
it sounds like singing




Kathryn Alderman co-chairs Gloucestershire Writers’ Network. Publication online and in print includes: Amaryllis, Atrium, Bonnie’s Crew, Eye Flash Poetry Journal, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Canon’s Mouth and she won Canon Poets’ ‘Sonnet or Not’ Competition (2012).






I’m eating breakfast alone
sitting outside the caravan awning
early mid-September morning
looking out across a vast green field.
I stare at the views of Manchester
which is to be your home for the next three years,
the smoke billowing chimneys and skyscrapers.
I watch the airplanes fly overhead
as your father ferries
you and your things to Halls
the car fully loaded,
your life’s belongings crammed
into crates and boxes
half of which I don’t think you need
but you were stubborn, insistent.
I take my arthritis pills and finish
my bowl of cornflakes
drink my coffee
to the sound of birds singing
and a crow startling in the hedgerow.




Rachel Burns poetry has been widely published in literary magazines and shortlisted in competitions recently HeadStuff and Primers Volume Four.





Gone Old Snow

For the first time in recorded history, Braeriach’s Garbh Choire Mor is snow-free in
two consecutive years.
Iain Cameron September 2018

I imagine you not knowing,
your wilful grit and sharp-slated finger jams,
your seasoned tactics picking paths
in negotiation with the hill’s solitude.

I see you loosening like the tight hide
of a hare being skinned as the hill relents
and channels your scramble
into that hostile sump. I imagine

the hill might know how you feel when you arrive;
for a breath-held moment giving you space
for your crouching and the laying of hands
on the everythinglost at Sphinx and Pinnacle.

I imagine the hill answering your lip-bitten frown
with a non-reply of ancient stillness,
and the plain geology of a glacier’s grave.
I imagine you sounding the entire consequence

of losing perennial snow that had shrouded
a claim of bedrock beyond light and air
through all these soaked spring-times, chiding
the loosening winter-grip. Defiant till now.

I imagine you imagining that cherished old snow,
those patches of weathered archaeology
as they slid hourly between temporal
and lasting. I imagine a new lonely

sorrow, almost wholly unseen – you, feeling
a fresh chill in this wild, warming cradle,
your legs lifted before you

the hill lowering you down.



Jo Young is from York and is a PhD student on the University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing programme. Her poetry has won prizes and been published in anthologies and magazines including Rialto and The Scores. She is currently poet-in-residence at the National Army Museum, London.

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