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She climbs hesitantly over piles of bricks.

A two-story chimney breast stands on its own

casting a deep shadow that she does not cross.

A rag of curtain droops through an empty window.

She wonders who slept in the room

where pigeons roost and dust sifts down.


                 from; Girl on a Bomb-peck  by Miki Byrne







Girl on a Bomb-peck

The Knackers Yard.


Watching Jools Holland.

Old Baptist Alley. Tewkesbury.

Paddling at Weston-Super-Mare in March.

Traveller In Blue Glass.

Chair at The Bedside.

Little Flags, Cheerleading. 

Long Black Dress.





1 – BIOGRAPHY:  Miki Byrne. BA.Hons. PGCE.


Miki has written three poetry collections, had work included in over 130 poetry magazines and anthologies and won prizes for her poetry. She has read on both Radio and TV, judged poetry competitions and was a finalist for Poet Laureate of Gloucestershire. She is opening this year’s Cheltenham Poetry Festival with the launch of her latest collection, ‘Flying Through Houses’ available from Indigo Dreams Publishing. Miki is disabled and lives near Tewkesbury. UK.






Girl on a Bomb-peck


She feels that this world is from a grim tale

where giants have pulled the buildings apart

in a fury of spite. There is desolation in the air,

in precious things left torn and strewn.

She gazes in wonder at random destruction,

at half a sink that hangs  by a bolt on a wall

and a big bed skewed – to jut in precarious balance

over a high and listing floor.

A tattered sheet flaps in grubby isolation.

She climbs hesitantly over piles of bricks.

A two-story chimney breast stands on its own

casting a deep shadow that she does not cross.

A rag of curtain droops through an empty window.

She wonders who slept in the room

where pigeons roost and dust sifts down.

The gardens are scattered, hurled

by explosives into a spray of dust and seeds.

Yet some have made a haphazard return.

Lupins grow in a doorway flanked by a black stove

upside down, its door ajar for rats to scurry in.

She edges past, afraid of the dark aperture.

A jagged stairway points into the empty sky.

She picks through debris to find anything whole,

any intact item to show that someone had lived here.

All around her are shards and shattered things.

Sadness encroaches. It seeps in like the like dirty water

leaching into her shoes and socks.

The Rose-bay willow-herb pushes through a holed bucket

and the smell of catmint rises beneath her feet.



The Knackers Yard. 


He wanted to show her the knackers yard.

His big-cousin bravado steered them

under the rattling gloom of the railway arch,

past the smoky half-glass walls of the bottling plant

and the mountain of metal grotesques 

that loomed over the scrappers’ corrugated fence.

As they approached, the stench hit her like a club,

then became a wet and rotting rag over her face.

She gagged as she gazed at the rivulets

of blood water that flowed from under the knackers gate.

He dared her to step in it. Her stomach flipped

and she  pushed him away as he laughed.

They put their eyes to the gap. Her heart thudded.

Piles of stained skins grew like bizarre fungi,

leaking blood and salt. More salt sat

in dirty crystalline hillocks. Gore splattered men

in aprons and high boots joked and flung fleeces

and leather about.  Her eyes filled.

These had been animals, living farmyard creatures

now rendered to stinking parodies of their former shape.

Her face crumpled. He said

‘Ah, Jesus! What the feck are ye cryin’ for?’





In a high attic. Under the tilted apex,

She gazed out over the rooftops of Montmartre

And danced en pointe till her toes bled.

She held her arms out, curved like a bow.

Fingers curled as if to cup a vagrant bird.

The white skirt flared like a tulip about her knees.

The window darkened, slow as a dawning thought.

Cats called. Yowling across rain-slipped tiles

and blue clouds grazed the gibbous moon.

He did not come and she awoke.

To one teabag left in the tin

And half a digestive that crumbled like her dreams.



Watching Jools Holland.


I glissando’d out of music far harder

Than I crescendo’d into it.

I had grasped the fingers of that life

As tightly as I held my cabasa in rhythm.

I only let go as slowly as a drowning man

Slides away from his failing rescuer.


I had hurtled into music, dived into gigs.

Rolled in rock and drugs and life was 

A paradiddle. I careened from dark till

Light and back again.

Days and nights reversed

I sucked up all life had to offer.


Played con passione and then some. 

Slept six in a van with last nights’ makeup

Streaking as morning light wiped our faces.

Searched for my toothbrush and clean knickers, 

Tucked in with the tambourine and guero

To stop the rattle of jangling instruments


While I dozed. The drum key was

As precious as gold. Detuned skins were

No good to anyone. The key hung like a talisman

round my neck. I walked the walk, spent the time,

Shuffled the green and broke the blues.

But that was then. Now I watch Jools Holland


And comment on the people doing what I did.

Criticise as they suffer in their masochistic spotlights

And I render to shreds the made up musos’

Of synthetic TV fame.

I sit in vicarious limelight and warm myself

In the heat of someone else’s sweaty gig.




Old Baptist Alley. Tewkesbury.


The sign–discreet contradiction–both directs

and deflects. Stern calligraphy nudges a claw-print  arrow.

Diverts to a stretching alley, narrow end of a brick funnel.

The left-hand wall is continuous.


The right ends in a tiny court. Twin Victorian houses,

a cat upon round-topped brickwork.

Temptation to stare is a tether but leave the black tongue

of door knocker, tantalizing glimpse through a window,


a jovial woman in a pinny who happily directs you on.

Through a Roman arch, neatly curved, to a small field.

Fenced in spears of black iron. Brave fleur-de-lys at their tips.

Grave markers pave the grass in stone footsteps.


Headstones perch, messily green. Risen from under

a soft blanket, to stand shoulder-draped in moss.

Some graves lie quilted in grass. Ivy claims the back fence.

Silence layers in whispers of past-prayer echoes.


Solemnity bleeds from inscribed words. Slight peaty smell

of Back of Avon filters through on the breeze.

Old Baptists rest in peace. Laid neatly behind Church Street.

Like the missals  they carried. Tucked deep in their pockets.




Paddling at Weston-Super-Mare in March.


Sea, dun coloured,

edged with cream filigree.

Bronzed by erratic fingers of sunlight.

Flops lazily upon sand,

shaded  two tones darker than itself.

Sand motes suspend in fluid constellations.

Seaweed ribbons drift, buoyant air sacs.

Feet find mud. Sink stickily, toes sucked 

by cold intimacy. It rises.

Edges my feet. Chilled like potters slip.

Chocolate-dark. Moulds my instep.

Circles ankles in bracelets of chill.

Immobile, I sink further. Exquisite  slowness.

legs stroked by soft, liquid abrasion.

My feet are numb.

Small waves wash calve deep.

Shivers skitter through my body.

I have grown into the sand.

Absorbed. Salt skin to salt sea.

I lift one foot then another.

Both offered a sucking kiss goodbye.

My footprints instantly fill.

Erase all traces of my presence.





Traveller In Blue Glass.


A blue glass globe sits in the bowl of my hands.

Like a shadowed scrying ball netted in old string.

Once it was pendulant upon a far-flung net.

Familiar with sand, rock, weed. The suck of fish,

drag of current. Distant seas hurled it in shining buoyancy.

It carries its years well. Skin smoothly complected.

Unblemished by salt, rope or handling.

With a folded navel where the soft-blown umbilicus

was pressed back, to seal the air within.

It braved the miles, calloused hands, umpteen hauls

over weather-beaten gunnels, for unknown years.

To rest now with me. Placed so that the sun might explore

its curvaceous face. The seven seas are awash in its memory,

the air it breathed at its moment of birth, held inside.

I hold it by a fibrous loop of string. Watch sunbeams penetrate.

Light it up with all the shades of sea and sky.

Find a longing in its heart.





Chair at The Bedside.


Once it held a woman. Old, frail,

who had fallen. Bones cracking

in her thinning hip. Drowning her

in the fear of dependency.

Then a saddened daughter

who held her mother’s hand

as fever heated her,

brought  savage dreams,

led her into the lost lands of fever.

Then followed a husband, bewildered,

waiting for his wife to return,

restore his life to normal.

Later, a young Registrar perched on its edge,

exhausted, bent-backed, with stethoscope

looped about her neck.

Next came a mother, weeping,

Hands clasped in prayer for her child’s recovery,

balanced upon the needle-tip of hope.

Now it holds another. Sparking with pain,

brain dulled by drugs and ennui. 

It has held so much weight. Grief, tears, joy.

How can it stand on such slender legs?





Little Flags, Cheerleading. 


I was in the movie. An insignificant

bit-part lurker, hovering on the edge.

The hotel was candyfloss pink.

Towered, turreted, with twee little flags

cheerleading in the breeze.

Palm trees rattled. Shook ragged shadows

over those too rich to smile.

They flowed from mirrored Limousines,

Continentals that could house a family.

My eyes ate up the curves of window arches,

the open-mouthed entrance

that sucked the famous inside, flunkeys buzzing

like oily bees in their wake. I leaned against a tree.

Watched dusk hurl itself to the floor,

scented like honey, dry desert sage.

I hummed the lyrics Felder, Henley and Frey

had crafted. Loved the metaphor

that gouged the underbelly of their own society.

The air cooled. Neon flickered on.

I framed the scene like a picture with my hands.

Saw the album cover. Captured with a slow eye-blink.

I did not enter. Wanted to keep the illusion,

the memory. To let it overlay the music.

Take both to parties and say,

‘Yeah, man. I was there’.





Long Black Dress.



If you had seen me in that dress;

you would have been the gentle grip of shirring

that snugged against my breasts,

nip of tiny brass teeth along my spine.

Your hands would have framed the neckline.

my collar-bones, thinned by shadows.

Your fingers may have been the hem

that skimmed my insteps soft as a whisper,

circled my wrists, formed the caress

that stroked softly down my sides.

You would have been the moist warmth

where limbs meet torso, the waft of perfume

from my skin, wisps that curled from my upswept hair.

You would have held me like that velvet.

Dark, soft, moving as I moved. Tracing the seam

that drew a line under my bust.

I could have had your love those long years ago.

Instead of only now.




 3 - Publishing History

Girl on a Bomb-peck  

Published by Indigo Dreams Publishing UK. 2013

In ‘Flying Through Houses’ by Miki Byrne.

The Knackers Yard.    

Published by Indigo Dreams Publishing UK. 2013

In ‘Flying Through Houses’ by Miki Byrne.



First Published in The Pygmy Giant Magazine 2011.


Watching Jools Holland.

First published in Obsessed with Pipework  Magazine. 2009.



4 - Afterword

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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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