Helen Calcutt




Fire lantern

It’s a discredit to us, we humans,
that when something moves out of the sky,
something like a ball of light,
we don’t see it.
We catch a glimpse maybe, yes.
But do we see? Do we take the time
to watch it, like a slow hand
moving one way across the dark
watch it burn, and think
that must be agony.
We don’t compare it, in our subtler minds,
to a bird that’s caught fire.
Or a voice on the air that, for some reason
has started screaming.
There’s milk out on the step
(in its own kind of light)
and then the baby in the bed
who needs to be fed.
The prospect of a morning
without money, or bread.
So we can’t know
if that thing.
That ball of light,
that bird,
that voice,
fell over the dark and the trees,
at last, into burning leaves.
We can’t begin to imagine what happened to it.



Helen Calcutt is the author of two books of poetry, ‘Sudden rainfall’ (Perdika, 2014) a PBS Choice, and ‘Unable Mother’ published by V.Press in September 2018. Her writing is published internationally, including award-winning essays and reviews for The Wales Arts Review, The Brooklyn Review, The London Review, Poetry Scotland and Boundless. She is creator and editor of ‘Eighty-Four’ a new poetry anthology on the subject of male suicide.


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