Jean Atkin



Eliza Remembers Lordshill After Noon

Eliza barefoot by the Chapel gate, and out of bounds
and late.  Her hand is on the warm iron finial.  Ears full
of the roar of bees on thistles.  Belly empty.

On the white lane a dog is jogging home.  Two acres back
ring voices from the farm.  Eliza walks the root-heave path
between the graves.  Her toes discover pools of cold yew-shade.

Chapel’s shut but what she’s after is the cottage and a cadge.
She walks by bee balm, avens. Clouds of butterflies rise up
but no-one home.  She taps again at the panel.

And feels time stand.  Thinks, this is now.  Her hand
is stopped on warm peeled paint.  She tries to recognise
her fingers by their dirt, and by the sky-hung sun.

By her thumb a shadow shapes a nest deep in the leaves. Eliza
presses in through sudden dark.  And all once, the nestlings
thrust up their wrinkled necks, and stretch their gapes.






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.

Note: Eliza Remembers Lordshill After Noon is part of  Understories, a project with eclectic folk band Whalebone.  Understories is a brush with the new folklore of Shropshire, rural and urban myths, tales just out of living memory and tales re-told – performances start in 2019.


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