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His knowledge of the world just a quivering
mass of need with an occasional stillness,
a listening, a leaning towards ancient beats,
warm familiar sounds of distant womb.


                 from; The Early Hours by Alison Hill






     Bingo Wings  
    The Early Hours  
    Snaking Around the Moon  
    Staving off a Natural Disaster  
    Words Left Unsaid  
    Butterfly Stroke  
    Sandstone Geckos  
    Miraculous Water  
    A Delicate Balance  




1 – BIOGRAPHY:  Alison Hill


Alison Hill is currently Poet in Residence at Kingston Libraries and runs Rhythm & Muse, a monthly poetry and music event at the Ram Jam Club in Kingston.

Her work has been published widely in magazines including Envoi, Orbis, Fire, Pulsar, Obsessed with Pipework, Ripple, 14 Magazine and ArtemisPOETRY. Poems have appeared in several anthologies and online at Snakeskin and Ink, Sweat & Tears.

Alison's first collection, Peppercorn Rent, was published by Flarestack in 2008. See alison-hill.weebly.com and www.rhythmandmuse.org for more details.






Bingo Wings

A tight smile held it all in – skimpy top rising over
puckered midriff, flesh laid uncomfortably bare.

She must concentrate on the dancing numbers,
eyes down, head bowed, smile again if necessary.

Candle flicker emotions played across her face.

If only this night could be hers to remember,
to pull out and savour as winter stripped the trees.

Yet she felt that familiar itch, sensed her spreading arms
rise of their own accord, take charge of her life.

She must give in – let bingo wings carry her
through the open window towards the dazzling light.




The Early Hours

We sit rooted, bound in a sleepy understanding.

His knowledge of the world just a quivering
mass of need with an occasional stillness,
a listening, a leaning towards ancient beats,
warm familiar sounds of distant womb.

Scratch-eyed, I am awash with night flashes
of long-forgotten travels, snatches of foreign
scenery; far-off moments in pre-time, long before
we began our strange nocturnal two-step.

He stirs, widens his navy eyes in sheer wonder.
We draw closer with a sympathetic shiver,
child of mine, son of mine, all and none of mine.

Dawn breaks, fleetingly, and my heart turns over.



Snaking Around the Moon

He notices how the clouds circle,
the earth widens and the sky
almost crashes down upon them.

She wonders at the purity of
the racing heavens, forever tempting
in their beguiling, stark eternity.

They snake around the glistening moon,
circling its aura, following its light:
silent rings around their hearts.


Staving off a Natural Disaster

And if by some miracle
the sun rose again at noon
and we started to fly backwards,
the earth around the moon, what then?

Would we see that particular drama
emerging in the static atmosphere,
huddled in our own small lives?

Would we recognise the tilt away
from our perceived normality,
towards the aching chaos?


Words Left Unsaid

I love spring flowers she said,
drinking in their scentless glory.

We bounced up the darkening broadway,
dived into the warmth of a favourite bar.

She lit an elegant slimline Menthol
then ordered a small red wine, for her heart.

I sat back to steal a proper look; kohl-framed
lashes sweeping limpid eyes, translucent skin.

I love spring flowers she said again,
but their scent eluded me.

We smiled at each other, down the years,
and waited for the old conversation to spark.

She puffed away while I studied the space
above her head, dying to ask more.

For the moment though, we had to play it cool.
So, I said, how does pregnancy suit you?





Butterfly Stroke

The lake beckons,
glimmers with half-truths
as she dives deep
beneath its cool exterior.
It looks inviting
yet she feels paralysed,
eyes wide open
to the salt-lick sting.

She dives deeper
to emerge a half-grown girl
with fat yellow plaits
and a serious contempt
for her parents
further up the beach
holding hands.

She dawdles, lets the sand
surface with a splat
between each plump toe,
feels the razor shell
strike the soft ball
of her left foot,
closes her mouth
against the rising bile
caught in her throat.


Sandstone Geckos

live  in  the  cracks
of a drystone wall
scabrous tongues flicking,
eyes flashing
as we stop and stare,
trying to catch them out.

We pause
just long enough
to fill our hands
with silver sand,
keeping our eyes
on the wall.

They twitch, bored
and dart away
taking their stories
into the depths.

Sand falls
from our fingers:
traces of glitter across
broken lifelines.


Water Lies Heavy

After the Vestal Virgin Tuccia
Giovanni Battista Moroni, c.1555

She carries water in a sieve
or so the story goes, yet she knows more,
knows that when she rises to her swollen feet
the water will seep into her toes,
dispelling the myth of her
misplaced virginity.

For all those feet clicking past,
all those eyes over the centuries,
all those people who have swallowed
what is written by her side, in miniature,
believe what her maker wants them to believe:

Chastity emerges from the dark clouds of infamy

She smiles in complicity as we move on.



A Delicate Balance

He struggled with the door
for the umpteenth time,
forward to pin it back,
back to push her through,
again to push the door to.

Scanning the restaurant
he chose their table with care,
enough space and privacy
weighed up against views
onto the street and a slice of life.

He settled her comfortably,
took their coats, placed menus
within reach and smiled with
a certain satisfaction.

We’ve had three beautiful moments
so far this morning, he began.
A stillness settled around them.
And the fourth? she asked gently,
smiling as she did so,
already knowing the answer.



She liked to collect pink lightbulbs
neatly, in her third drawer down.

She knew they would be found;
her secret stash, her weakness
for a soft glow to warm the edges
of the darkening room
as she tapped   out   time   with
hot-pink nails on powdered hands.

She liked to watch the light
shifting through the delphiniums,
creeping up the sliding hallway
to prod spring bulbs into life.

She liked to watch the dawn,
to catch the first glimmers
of the varnish-streaked sky –
the pink lightbulbs neat
in her third drawer down.


3 - Publishing History

Bingo Wings – published in Peppercorn Rent, Flarestack, 2008

The Early Hours – Fire and Peppercorn Rent

Snaking Around the Moon – Orbis and Peppercorn Rent

Staving off a Natural Disaster – Ink, Sweat & Tears

Words Left Unsaid – Pulsar and Peppercorn Rent

Butterfly Stroke – Peppercorn Rent (as Treading Water)

Sandstone Geckos – Envoi and Peppercorn Rent

Miraculous Water - Snakeskin

Blush – Ripple and Peppercorn Rent


4 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think. 

We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org

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