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With a watercolour brush I attempt

the quality of light, ruffle contours

more fluid than any mountain range.

One imperfect shade bleeds into another,

colours stale as they dampen the page.


                 from; A map of my House...  by Annette Skade




















1 – BIOGRAPHY:  Annette Skade


Annette Skade is from Manchester, and moved to the Beara peninsula in Ireland in 1989. Her first collection Thimblerig was published following her receipt of the Cork Literary Review Manuscript prize in 2012.

 She has a degree in Ancient Greek and Philosophy from Liverpool University and she has just completed an MA in Poetry Studies from Dublin City University, where she read everything from Anne Carson to the York Mystery Plays, Elizabeth Bishop to Basil Bunting.

Her poems have recently appeared in the SHOp poetry magazine, Abridged and the Cork Literary Review. In 2014 her work was published in the When Women Waken Power Issue, Crannog Summer Issue and the Poetry Bus Money Issue.  Her poems appear online at Poethead.org.

She won the Bailieborough/ Cara poetry competition in November 2013 and  the Poets meet Painters Competition in 2010 and was placed second in 2012 and her work appears in the Poets Meet Painters anthologies. In 2014  she won second prize in the Allingham Festival Poetry  Competition, was Commended in the Liquorice Fish “Lost Voices” Competition and was Highly Commended in the Poetry Kit Summer Poetry Competition on the theme of “Film”.







God Particle


Clear plastic Spirograph pieces

in a red cardboard box:

a watch mechanism.

I am a ten year old prime mover

determining the shape of the universe -

will it be perfect circle or ellipse?


I pin paper, an outer shape

to the board, choose a smaller cog                                                                   

to run around it, tooth to outer tooth,

insert a pen through the dial                                           

and begin a circular motion,

slow then picking up speed.


Clockwise, counter-clockwise I roll,

change colour, gears, track planets,

build an interlace of curves,

parabolas, spirals in a pattern

still unclear, glimpsed

through the music of the spheres.




A Map of my House in Terms of Light



grey beige- barely enough light to read by

sand yellow- enough natural light to thread a needle

zinc yellow – sunlight casts shadow

pastel orange- light pools

deep orange - light drenches


A black propelling pencil

defines the external skin;

breaks in line give weight to spaces

made to box the force of sunshine.


I add interior walls to show

how light glides and glances,

how doors trade it for bought warmth,

how an open door matters.


With a watercolour brush I attempt

the quality of light, ruffle contours

more fluid than any mountain range.

One imperfect shade bleeds into another,

colours stale as they dampen the page.


To plot all changes

from dawn to dusk

and through each season,

I need many such maps,

an atlas of light.


My clock-shackled body                                 

comes to feel the path;

scud of clouds, dapples on furniture,                               

the disorientation

of flicking on a light switch.






Houses on green baize,

upside-down cups

at a fair, reveal nothing

but blank dints of windows.

Which holds the dark nut?


Can we hear it knock

against the sides as it spins,

see a bulge in the walls

signal to the flaying, inside,

of particular human scraps?


Or is it passed

from house to house:

a sleight of hand

which renders us

already too late as we tap.



The Boat Train


Snow is a poor Midas;

turns all to base metal,

trees to wire,

soil to iron filings.

A bulging sky pours a million grey globules:

we lucky few have made the boat train.


We hurtle down soothing steel.

Barges iced to canals,                                                                    

ring-roads etched with skidmarks,

empty stations unreachable by road

are framed for us in a flick book.


Doors fling wide to wild strangers                      

shaking off flakes of outside.

Slowly they drip dramas:

mobile conversations of shops closing early,

how to get the children from school,

cross-talk over shopping bags,

stories of abandoned cars.


The sea is the colour of amalgam.

Two drinkers bend close and murmur the tale

of hill farmer brothers who dropped their key

as they slogged home last night.

This time is not now.


We are sackcloth and ashes,

starvelings in rags,

ravaged by dogs and plague.

We freeze to death in this flinty world.

Pray for the train and the rails under it,

pray for the traveller outside in all weathers,

weave spells against the cold.


The reflection of the woman in the Pullman seat opposite

stares back at me with a skin of grey mountain.

The stainless steel trolley stops beside us.

We wrap hands round our tea,

take in warmth like survivors.





Garden Geometry


I planted love-in-a-mist to fool the carrot fly;

find myself taken in

by the fuzz of unsteady green

lolling among strict lines of vegetables.


Foil satellite dishes of pink and titanium-blue

quiver on flexing stems,

crook sepal filaments at the sun:

an irresistible signal to pick.                                


On the kitchen table their green haloes crack,

charge little screws of colour                                                            

to hover on a net of spiny fractals:

more lightning strike than carrot top.






Erect, buffed by dusk,

he sniffs the outer ring

of streetlight: a roadblock.

I count prongs, gauge

how long to stand under rain,

to strip bark from oaks,

paw hoof into leaf mould,

scratch hide on tree trunks,

shed bone and rut:

how long to become forest.





Your eyes swim bright in a tinted pool of glass,

the bones of your face more solid somehow,

now I can make you out. Your teeth are pearls,

your mouth shapes silent words in the window.

You bundle your coat onto the rack,

stow bags, settle, twist towards the street,

I think of the daughters of that far land,

twined close, always in arms reach.

You frame a smile in the deepening dark,

tapered fingers slowly wiping air,

the airport shuttle makes its scheduled start,

shuts you behind a blind of glinting mirror.

Your hands make a veil for your eyes there,

you shield yourself from the desert glare.



Knitting a Father from Nettles


Scrape years of dirt

off the date, rip nettles

from the headstone.

Gather armfuls.                                         

Pay no heed

to swollen knuckles,

red welts at the wrist. 


Wrap stem after stem

around the needle,

fibrous strands of story,


of faded photos,

in – over –



Stay silent.

Not one word

to pass your lips.

Echo his ghost,

rarest of visitors,

the slow shake of head

at the bottom of the bed.


Bind the waist

with a knitting belt

to pass a needle through.

Knit one–handed;

nursing the baby,

stirring the pan,

stacking the shopping.


Shake out the finished thing

to settle on the space

around a father:

a winding sheet

for a dinge

in the mattress.

Begin again.



Medici Girl

Beauty adorns virtue, my Father says.
To save the family, and me, from the shame
of my disfigurement, he orders a corridor
to stretch from here to Santa Annunziata.
I beg forgiveness from the Holy Mother
at a hidden chink beside the altar.
Her beatific face is turned from me,
I am to reflect upon her beauty.

My bedchamber floor maps out the world.    
Every day I pace its length and breadth,                                          
dip toes in oceans, trace the course of rivers,
trample the towers of the powerful,                                  
reach the very edge, the land of monsters,
half-made things, deformed and magical.
I slide down the wall, squat in this place,
feel light from the high window on my face.





                                front is


                          handlebars well-trimmed,

                                      it primps



                                             for position

                                                outside the

Red Moon Cafe.                     Riders wear helmets

in hot pink to the counter, carry them like baskets,

filled with promises of safety. Heads on sleeves,

hearts in the engine, they straddle, switch and rev:

   a frisson up                                    the spine of                         

   the narrow                                       side street.




 3 - Publishing History

God Particle - First published in Thimblerig 2013 by Bradshaw Books, Cork Ireland

A Map of my House in Terms of Light - First published in Thimblerig 2013 by Bradshaw Books, Cork Ireland

Thimblerig - First published in Thimblerig 2013 by Bradshaw Books, Cork Ireland

The Boat Train - First published in SHOp Poetry Magazine, Ireland, Issue 37 Autumn/ Winter 2011  and Thimblerig 2013 by Bradshaw Books, Cork Ireland

Garden Geometry -  First published in Thimblerig 2013 Bradshaw Books, Cork Ireland

Stag - First published in Thimblerig 2013 Bradshaw Books Cork Ireland

Knitting a Father from Nettles - First published in Crannog Magazine, Summer Issue 2104


 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

Thank you for taking the time to read Caught in the Net.  Our other magazine s are Transparent Words ands Poetry Kit Magazine, which are webzines on the Poetry Kit site and this can be found at -