WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.


Dancing on a Rock is Chrys Salt's fourth full poetry collection. Her work is widely published, has appeared in anthologies all over the world, been performed on BBC Radio 3 and 4, UK wide, in the USA, Canada, France, Germany and Finland. It has been translated into French and Arabic and is currently being translated into Hebrew. Her poem ‘The Burning’ from Weaver of Grass (GRASS IDP 2012) was selected as one of the 20 Best Scottish Poems 2012.


In 2014 her limited edition pamphlet Weaver of Grass (Hattericks House 2013, artwork Deirdre Carlisle) was shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award.


She was awarded a Writers Bursary by Creative Scotland to finish this collection and awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.





Chrys Salt


Dancing on a Rock


ISBN 978-1-909357-69-3


Indigo Dreams Publishing




138 x 216mm


90 pages


£9.99 + P&P UK


PUB: February 2015










Dancing on a Rock


I hear it in dark corners

lit by words

in insects stirring before gossamer

in din of arguments

in print interred

high song of larks

low syllables of home.


I hear it when night bends round sleep

and waking finds it finished

round and true

in nakedness

forked tongues

old mysteries

in silences that speak

batter of guns and bombs

making unmaking making all anew.


I hear it when feet crunch on hope

in exits entrances and loss

bombed houses

dying children

journeys to and fro

messages in spidery scrawl

coded uncoded

left behind

in burnt out rooms

charred paper scraps

the leavings in a bowl.


I hear it in vacancy

in monuments

knees scraping on lost histories

in rotting garbage

choirs in stalls

dust fall

dark passages

brush stroke

gilt glint

unwritten maps



I hear it in the death of bees



running in and out

weigh it with hair

count it with petal fall


in a fossil dancing on a rock

hear it in everything



and after all of this.
















Good neighbour


Our neighbour built big bonfires for us

on the allotment behind our house.

Stoked it with chestnuts, told us where

hibernating toads and slow worms were.

Left little messages, pipe cleaner men,

surprises in the doorway of our den.

Found us an orange box to make a table.

He made my childhood memorable.

One evening sitting on his knee

watching Tom and Jerry on TV,

his hand crept slyly up my frock.

tickly at first, then confusion, shock

wrong mixed with right, stock-stillness, fear,

senses uncharted, half of me not there.

His fingers pushed inside me, nothing said

as Tom chased Jerry round and round my head.

He told me not to tell. I never did,

but next time he called round I hid.

Had a knack with kids our next door neighbour.

I wish I’d told my mum about John Bridger.





Toad march


Leaving potatoes on the hob to boil

we ventured out in Macs and wellies

down the puddled track.


The light had gone.

Leaf mould and mud hissed under us

like nests of snakes,

then in a globe of torch,

we saw we stood up to our ankles

in a sea of toads.

Behind us, round us, under us,

seething and numberless

they clambered over rut and boot

croaking in warty congress

on each other’s backs,

jewelled eyes

focused with single purpose

on their breeding ground.


‘What did it matter if we trampled some,

crushed their tiny lives into the leaves?

There would be other toads

other journeys such as these.’


Yet we stood still as trees,

fearing to cause the smallest injury.

Wondered how many we had trodden on,

if the potatoes had boiled dry?






can you hear the fishes sing

clicking mandibles of ants

the slow sad slur

of snail trails over paths

and terraces

the fraying edge of daffodils

as Spring wears out

the falling shadow of a rose

silence of leaves

holding their Autumn breath

slipping geometries

of snow on stones


the planet

turning round and round

and years that slip like silk

through wedding rings


without a sound?


The Insurrection of Poetry


Poems are on the march.

They are singing

from the rubble of Ground Zero,

the ruins of Damascus and Sarajevo,

the  bomb shelters of Amiriyah,

the poisoned bodies in Halabja,

from the mouths of murdered menfolk

in Srebrenica.


Poems are growing from their winding sheets

in the mud and trenches

of butchered nature.

Their guns fire white poppies.

Their flags are the colour of rainbow.

Their hands fold paper cranes

under the olive trees.

From the bones of mutilated generations

they grow blossoms of resurrection.



you tyrants, murderers,

fundamentalist, mutilators,

rapists, occupiers,

racists, persecutors,

autocrats, crucifiers,


fanatics, torturers, liars,

obfuscators, manipulators,






Poems all over the world

are saying






“Chrys Salt, a wonderful and unique poet, reaches her zenith. The past comes alive again, where dreams and desperations come hand in hand. Her work is poignant, full of anger, desire, and dreams that entice you to enter that world. This book touched me deeply.”

Bernard Kops

Dramatist, Poet, Novelist








Creative_Scotland_bw Chrys_Salt_03a_17 05 14

From The Bronze Age to recent conflict, Chrys Salt's new collection explores distillations of memory, moments, lives, experience - the image of a fossil dancing on a rock reminding us of those things that are recorded, yet transient.

DOAR 7.5