After Gillian Lever
“What is orange?  Why, an orange,
Just an orange!”
— Christina Rossetti, from Sing-Song (1873)

Sweet naranja, common, in-your-face
cadmium, chrome, atomic tangerine.
# FF7F00: traffic cone of all colours
warning us watch out! don’t hit that!

Californian poppy, Buddhist robe, lava
lamp.  Too bright to be elegant, warmly
full of vivid blaze.  Nineteenth-century
newbie, liberal, hallowe’en firestarter.

Mr Tickle at an Indian wedding, space-
hopper, prisoner, burnt and bitter.
Goldfish of desire, kicking a ball along
Blackpool prom.  I lift an orange
into the flat, filthy palm of my hand
and feel and smell and lick it.  Before 
me is a full feast of colour, my God
the colour orange.  Kiss me quick

sweet naranja, carrot of my heart.
Gamboge from the east, cheery sphere
of tropical warmth.  Look! we said,
before we knew your name: geoluhrēad.



Rosie Miles is based in Birmingham, and widely published in poetry magazines.   Her debut collection was CUTS (HappenStance, 2015) and her poem ‘You enter’ is etched into King’s Heath urban village square.  She was selected for the first cohort of ACE/Nine Arches Press Dynamo Mentees in 2017.

Gillian Lever is an artist who makes abstract paintings. She studied Fine Art at Reading University before qualifying as an Art Therapist. Gillian runs Lever Arts (with Jake Lever) and they commission and create exhibitions as well as devise participatory experiences in the areas of health, education and spirituality.  They believe that art can offer a resource for centred living in a frantic and fractured world.Website:

Note: Italicised words in stanzas 3-4 are from Brian Keenan’s “An Evil Cradling”.