On the Fourth Day of Christmas we bring you Katherine Stansfield and Reuben Woolley



No room at the inn                           

All the animals in the animal basket
wanted to go: Stegosaurus,
polar bears, Lego dog.
We let in a camel and a donkey
only on sufferance. They watched
from the back, blocked by pandas.

The crib was crammed: shoe-box
size, wooden, cotton wool snow
glued to the tin-foiled top. Our desert
in the dining room was cold.
Stacks of straw kept everyone
warm but because we wouldn’t do wisps
we lost baby Jesus early on.

The angel with a ‘gloria’ sash lashed
to the stable door was meant to be
ever-descending. We spent Christmas
knocking her off on the way
to the kitchen and having to rehang
her chipped china robe.

Each night we said sleep tight, Lego dog,
sleep tight, panda family, sleep tight,
Joseph and Mary, but when
we’d climbed the wooden hill
disaster struck our Bethlehem: the cat –
crib-fancier, straw-lover, jealous, always,
of religious icons – pushed
herself in, knocked everyone out.


Katherine Stansfield’s first collection, Playing House, was published by Seren in 2014. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including The Guardian online poem of the week, Magma and Poetry Wales.   Blog: http://katherinestansfield.blogspot.it/



promised an advent

we reached out for new days

said mary.it wasn’t

a question of comfort

&john came through

in tumult        a repeat

of doors

he locked his steps behind him


grass will cover
the old & pissed on.glitter
distracts & distracts
we don’t see

the rusty times

i have

no doubt

he said        turning off

lights & carrying

this will be

a final        strategy     to hold
& fuck
our bastard heads.lie


& let them play in sand


Reuben Woolley has been published in Tears in the Fence, The Lighthouse Literary Journal, The Interpreter’s House (forthcoming) and Ink Sweat and Tears among others. A collection, the king is dead, 2014, a chapbook, dying notes, 2015. Runner-up: Overton Poetry Pamphlet competition and the Erbacce Poetry Prize, both in 2015.

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