Interior, with Child

Soon enough, we were holed up in snow.
So much to be glad for,
our baby between us in the bed.
We hummed carols, lit the tree.
Such an ochre month.
We lay with curtains open,
sky a wash of Prussian blue,
chimneys smoking, ice creaking
on branches. Learned by heart
our new face in the world.



Tracey Rhys is a Welsh poet, recent winner of the ‘Poetry Archive Now! WordView 2020’ competition. Her pamphlet is Teaching a Bird to Sing (Green Bottle). Find new work in the current The Lonely Crowd and Bloody Amazing! (Yaffle Dragon).




I need some fresh air, apparently

December cold from the open window
plays havoc with my chest;
tight lungs tighten further.

From downstairs comes the clatter
of pots and pans over the usual Christmas record;
its carols half-snatched.

I fill in the gaps, but lack the breath to sing
in yet another yuletide chokehold.
How many are these sick holidays?

I haul myself out of bed
to close the catch, pulling my new
striped mohair scarf across my face.

Drugs and exhaustion make me doze till lunch
when I’m roused from the vast stretch
of Rhossili beach – blue sky, stratus, crisp air,

the gorse jewelled with gold – where I’ve been
breaking up sheets of ice with the heels
of my boots as the ships sail in.



Kate Noakes‘ most recent collection is The Filthy Quiet (Parthian, 2019). She is a PhD candidate at the University of Reading researching contemporary British and American poetry. She lives in London where she acts as a trustee for writer development organisation, Spread the Word.




Field Notes on Christmas Dinner

OK, the turkey may be underdone, the parsnips black,
pudding a tad raw in the middle but the main thing,
the thing that’ll take the edge off the celebrations,
apart from the usual crap presents without a receipt
that you’d never be seen dead in if they paid you
is the Rule of bloody Six. Normally, if you can call it
normal, there would be ourselves, Katherine’s four,
Helen and Jon and their three plus Tom and his two,
that makes seventeen altogether and OK I’ll admit
it’s chaotic and the lunch is a bit hit and miss although
Jon is a dab hand with the Yorkshires and roasties
to die for and there are never enough chairs, plates,
cutlery but you know what that’s all part of the fun
and this year it’ll be just us and a rerun of Frozen.



Carole Bromley lives in York. A pamphlet, Sodium 136, published by Calder Valley in 2019 and a new collection, The Peregrine Falcons of York Minster, just out from Valley Press.