Can you hear her sing,
so far from here, crouched
on bloodied straw, beside
the phlegmatic ox?
my little child,
may we know peace tonight.’
She sings, and learns,
against her weary heart,
the peace he brings can’t
be a peace she’s known before.
‘My little child,’ she sings,
Come, you who listen,
it’s time for you to step
out of this poem and follow:
from out the dark, the shepherds
hurry down the hawkish
hill, the magi slink past the
tyrant, and the angels gather to
praise the child laid in the skanky manger.
Adam Warne is a writer and supermarket worker from Suffolk, where he lives with his parents in a village called Onehouse. His pamphlet Suffolk Bang was published by Gatehouse Press in 2018 and shortlisted for the East Anglian Book Awards.
Songs Eternal 2020 and 2021
Covid, so Christmas falls at Easter, called ‘Christer’
or ‘Eastmas’, by some. Deferred, our dressed tree
stands the longer evenings with chocolate eggs.
The whole family, snowflake jumpers filling a sofa,
clasp bunches of yellow daffodils, as snowdrops
toast under the leafing-up trees of early April.
Uncle Pete, transitioning in lockdown, is re-born
as Petra, looking gorgeous in a skirt of sunflowers
after so long, pondering. The in-laws Jack and Debs,
who split amicably, laugh over cinnamon Pimm’s
with ice and cloves. On the record-deck ‘A Child is Born’,
though to be born, crucified and rise all in a day
is a stretch, even for a Messiah. ‘Last Eastmas’,
we sing, after jugs of punch, ‘I gave you my heart,
the very next day, you gave it away’: George Michael,
eternal. But there’s no ‘next day’, nor one roof tonight
for all of us, as like Mary & Joseph, we follow the stars,
but we have this song, a glass to fill, and half a shout.
True Forensics, Ken Evans’ first collection, was published in 2018. His poems have featured in Magma, Poetry Scotland, Under the Radar, Envoi, The High Window and IS&T. He won the Kent & Sussex Poetry Competition (2018) and Battered Moons in 2016.
I am over and under whelmed simultaneously. Fluctuating, a ladybug’s wing. I miss dad. Whelmed. Makes me sound like the ocean – blues and greens. I feel better. I saw a robin at the garden centre he helped me choose an apple tree, perched on the right pot. Whelmed. Over – under. Over, under.
Winner of the Poetry in the Arcades competition, Marcelle Newbold’s poems have been published in recent anthologies by Black Bough Poetry and Indigo Dreams. She is an editor for Rare Swan Press, and lives in Cardiff, Wales. Twitter and linktree: @marcellenewbold