WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

Deborah Harvey is co-director of The Leaping Word poetry consultancy.


Her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies, broadcast on Radio 4’s Poetry Please, and awarded several major prizes, most recently the 2018 Plough Prize Short Poem Competition.


'The Shadow Factory' is her fourth poetry collection, following 'Breadcrumbs' (2016), 'Map Reading for Beginners' (2014), and 'Communio'n (2011), all published by Indigo Dreams.


Her historical novel, 'Dart', appeared under their Tamar Books imprint in 2013.




138 x 216mm


68 pages


£9.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-912876-20-4


PUB: 29/11/2019










The Shadow Factory


Deborah Harvey



Praise for Oystercatchers:


'Every word is weighted. Although nothing

is explicit, something important is being enacted, and the epigraph by Camus adds an anchor, so that we guess his are the words being taken to the sea and released from the heart. I kept coming back to this and getting more from it.’  

Pascale Petit


‘Deborah Harvey’s … poems are raw

and true. She is the real thing.’

Hugo Williams





The Good Dogs of Chernobyl


‘Don’t kill our Zhulka. She’s a good dog.’


So they stayed where they were told,

they never lost their faith

not even when the buses left

and the fallen star hissed flame and cracked

the air was thick with ash, the rain burned black,

and no one told them what they were

no one stroked their crackling fur

or scratched their ears.


Now they come through underbrush

on paths of wormwood, cinder, dust,

their paw prints brand the bitter earth

and none of them will sit or stay,

these dogs that know no human touch

that do not answer to a name.



Mr Cowper’s Hares                                                                        


And so he sits without moving

holds them in his lap


not so tightly they’ll take fright

leap through the window

scream up the lane

outstripping every attempt to catch them

hurling themselves from rock to moss to wild supposition

till they’ve gone beyond all returning

no longer know they have a home


and not so softly they’ll take fright

bolt down the passage

out through the door

dodging the grasp of passers-by

plunging almost suicidal into tan pits

brought back half-drowned in a sack

caked with lime


and so he holds them without moving

pent between his hands


sees his reflection

in their mad amber eyes



Gottle o’ Geer


In one dream you’re

hunched on the recliner

I ferried from Cornwall

in the back of a friend’s Morris Minor


the gift you hated without even trying

resisting the leg rest, the dual motor riser

falling asleep uncomfortably upright

your body askew


                               a disjointed puppet

whose strings I could pull

now that you’re dead

manoeuvre your arms into a hug

throw my voice, make it sound like you’re saying

I love you –  


The Shadow Factory


Was it nightfall or the sun eloping with a cloud?

No one knew for sure but whatever the cause

the shadow factory vanished.


Workers peered vainly at rollsigns on buses

traipsed to the gates where they’d seen it last;

on encountering rubble and broken glass

shrugged their shoulders, sighed,

applied for redeployment.


Perhaps it retired to a sunlit meadow,

sat itself down by a puttering stream

far from the whine of lathes, the scream of Harrier jump jets


perfecting hand shapes from watching wild rabbits,

learning how bats navigate by sound shadow

on moonless nights.





‘Aujourd’hui, maman est morte’

                          ‘L’étranger’, Albert Camus        



One day

the day she’s been waiting for will come


and she’ll take these words with her to the sea

unzip her coat, pull open her ribcage


let them fly as purposely

as oystercatchers


pulling the strings of the sky

and tide


lifting the weight from each blood cell

giving her permission      



Herons Green Bay


Sometimes perfection’s too much

like on early autumn mornings, parked by the lake

in the space between daybreak and dawn,

when you know without counting there’s seven swans,

four calling crows, one eponymous heron

feathered in gold.


Write instead this rain-smudged dusk

bent and rusted railings breaking

with you convinced you’re plunging through them

and fifteen feet under you gasp and flounder

through ruined farmyards, orchards, mills,

fields of mangelwurzels sown for winter fodder                    


past the twice-drowned ghost of a village girl

dripping and squelching

upstairs to her bed

and not understanding that she’s dead

as she glances at headlamps on the causeway

mistakes them for falling stars



Holding the Balance


Look to the west and north

rain is blurring the bones of the moor


smearing the outlines of hills and tors

as you name them



Here on Holne ridge

against ink-blotched cloud


sheep are wet as if freshly painted

and once you’ve left everything will be tilted


fleeces crest the river’s rapids

stone will pour, crows dissolve against the sky



It’s all right to stop now

not even granite stays unchanged


let the land hold its own balance

under this shifting light

Cover photograph of Herons Green Bay ©Deborah Harvey


9781912876204 Dartmoor Deborah Harvey amend