WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.



138 x 216mm


36 pages


£6.00 + P&P UK


PUB: 14/05/2021












Shake us and we settle,

cling to roads and railways,

clotting at a crossroads

where a town begins to grow, swell, spill


into the suburbs with its two-up two-down shells.

Take down the curtains, the picture frames,

the slatted blinds and mirrored doors,

wrap the plates from the dresser


and the china cats. Switch off

radios, TVs and phones, wind

the cables to walls — unplug.

Clear the mantle, heave back the rugs,


pick the boards to splinters,

strip the paper with nails.

Dismantle, heap, scrub, abrade,

scour to bare-brick bones. Step outside


to untaffle the fences, the hedgerows, the walls,

let the lanes go to pot-holes and the roads

crack above tree roots. Twist the tower-block

teeth from an aching jaw. Coil up


the motorways and unzip the railways

in rich brown streaks,

reel in the wires, lever up pipes,

pick out the pylons. Tie off canals


with practised knots, turn reservoirs loose.

Ask the bank-bound river to relearn

her meanders, enjoy her floodplains,

sprawl into lakes. Let the streams decide



their routes from the hills,

the ditches unhurry through the scrub.

Trust the water to find its way.  

The land will forget the paths,


overgrow our snickets and gunnels

alleys and tracks, shrivel

into twists of umbilical cord.

Uncollect, degather, rescatter.


It knows as well as we, that humans, like sediment,

are time in falling, and before long, resettle.



The Swans


This year they leave together

before the first real frost sets in, the mist

a not quite kiss above the sleeping lake,


soundless until a goose barks out

like a chair scraped back in the dusk.

Which goes first we couldn’t say;


the whim of one, or some collective knowing

sets those great primeval feet pedalling the water

breasts heaved up, wings thrashing,


and just when it seems too improbable –

their weight too great, their necks too long –

the first bird tips and begins to lift.


Through the mist and mire they rise

unsullied and unforgettably white,

parting, then dissolving into night.  



All That Jazz


A sieve of pause and pattern

here and there a note

but not the one you wanted,

not the cadence that might settle this

once and for all.


Don’t all those lazy-lidded locals

propping up the bar each night

want something more secure?

Not a house and kids with a well-paid job

but a chord that says I knew all along

and you’ve earnt this cadence –

get yourself a drink, knock it back in one

as the next band pans for gold.






Pegging Out


Lauren Colley






Exploring themes of home and connection, many of these poems are snapshot images – touching, sometimes humorous depictions of domestic life observed from windows or heard through a shared bathroom wall.  Others look beyond this, directing our line of sight far out across the rooftops ‘until the town edge tatters’ and the natural world continues regardless, to ‘restitch’.




IMG-0146 AMENDED SMALL 9781912876549

Pegging Out


I watch them in the mornings

through the gap-toothed fence,

passing the basket back and forth


like a cone of plastic chips:

socks toe first in pairs,

two-a-piece for pants


before stepping back

to halve and halve a double sheet

in a dance as old as custom,


old as the lines with which we speak

that lope out far beyond sight

until the town edge tatters


to a scattering of cottages,

pylons dwindle, fields unravel,

and we fall quiet.