Series Editor - Jim Bennett

Introduction by Jim Bennett


Hello.  Welcome to the next in the series of CITN featured poets.  We will be looking at the work of a different poet in each edition and I hope it will help our readers to discover some new and exciting writing.  This series is open to all to submit and I am now keen to read new work for this series.


You can join the CITN mailing list at - http://www.poetrykit.org/pkl/index.htm and following the links for Caught in the Net.



In the middle is the non-colour

where Jamie died, I stitching

all through the dull days of waiting.

Those red circles are not flowers

but record the spray of his red breath.


           from;  Log Pattern Quilt. C 1900 by Vivien Jones





Strange Flesh

Log Pattern Quilt. C 1900.

Museum of Rural Life

‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ at Polmaddy

Owl, Himself

Small Bones

Dining with Copernicus

Something in the Blood

The Virgin Mermaid

My Mother’s Poems




Vivien Jones lives on the north Solway shore with her husband, Richard. She is a semi-professional early musician in The Galloway Consort. Her short stories have been widely published and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and Radio Scotland – her first themed collection of short stories, Perfect 10, was published in September 2009 by Pewter Rose Press. Autumn-Winter 2009/2010 will see short stories published in The Yellow Room, Horizon (Salt Publishing) and Iota Fiction anthology; A poetry chapbook, Something in the Blood, was published in February 08 (Selkirk Lapwing Press) and another, Hare (Erbacce Press) in March 08. She has twice performed as a Poetry Double with Jacob Polley and Jen Hadfield and devises collaborative readings with music in performance at Book and Arts Festivals in Scotland and the north of England. She is currently working on a first poetry collection.  Website - www.vivienjones.info 







Strange Flesh


I spied a grey log


on a grey pebble shore.


Coming near,

a glint of bone showed

it was not a log.

A glint of bone showing

through a scoop in flesh,

made crosses, a spine.


A jaw with broken lines

of thin teeth,

gums stabbed away

by complaining gulls,

no fins, no tail, no eyes,

no name.


A sea creature wrecked

by a violent tide,

a dry rotting banquet on

hot stones.

Because it is nameless,

small boy like, I take a stick

to punish its leather carcase.



First published in ‘Ginosko 7’ USA 





Log Pattern Quilt. C 1900.


This tells my life, this quilt,

this sequence of incident in

stitches as numerous as the tears

shed for each lack, each loss.

The colours tell a true tale,

brief greens of spring and summer growth,

the splash of the blazing blue stream

gives way to longer dry harvest gold

and the dull grey slabs of winter.


In the middle is the non-colour

where Jamie died, I stitching

all through the dull days of waiting.

Those red circles are not flowers

but record the spray of his red breath.

Three summers old when we buried him

beside his sister, not yet one year.

My forefinger is dented with the

blunt press of the needle,

felt, not seen, in the faint autumn light

as the quilt grows across my knee

and the pile of infant clothes

grows smaller by my feet.



First published ‘Boyne Berries ’(Ireland) March 2008

Obessed with Pipework( Flarestack) April 2009






Museum of Rural Life Kiltimagh,Ireland April 2008


If you stand just here

And stare across there,

you can just see the print

of a house, very small,

on the hillside.


The woman who lived there,

if she stared across here,

could see this glass

and concrete building,

and wonder what it was.


More amazing than that,

if she saw inside it

and saw that her kitchen

tools were there, roped off,

labelled, forbidden, clean.


She might be puzzled,

if she thought about it,

that so many people

would stare for so long

at things so commonplace.



First published ‘The Eildon Tree’ October 2009





‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ at Polmaddy *


Maisie Barbour : ‘farmhand and herbalist’


‘So, what can you recommend for a raw Galloway hillside

upon which an abandoned settlement sinks in its own echoes ?


A whaleback horizon, black at dusk, guiding soft constant rainfall

onto earth pocked with rocks and fibrous grasses tough enough

to capture soil in plaited roots, our own shit for manure.


We plant in rigs, sharing the sweet west lie, only the toughest

crops will throw themselves skywards, defying the slashing wind,

onions, small as marbles, cooked whole, make pungent soup.


I gather the healing plants, for bitter gruels and poultices,

called to wounds and vomitings, my wealth in my apron folds,

I keep them from the earth with the fruit of the earth.


The children dig granite stones, stacked in cairns with which

we build an inn, we stop the pilgrims in their path to Whithorn,

faith makes them thirsty, we are rich, we have many buildings.


No more, one summer they brought the sheep and we, like sheep,

were herded away to the barren towns.

Will you make a garden here where once the stripe of the rigs told

where the fruitful earth lay ?’



*Polmaddy is the site of an 18th century ‘ferme-toun’ almost lost among the tough grasses

 of the Galloway countryside.







Owl, Himself



across that space

I made movement

silent. You felt

the air move, not me.

If you were vole

you would be no more,

a single crunch

after the pounce,

a brittle skull shattered.


a pellet later


my frail body,

inside its downy cloak,

with blood lust

beak and claws,

served by marmalade eyes.


You can’t evade

my gaze,

its languid revolution

will take you in,

to evaluate.

I will consider

your smell, your size,

your proximity,

before ensuring

my survival.


The night time

woods are mine,

I sweep the dark,

catch moonlight

on my wings,

Cry to my kind,

startle yours,;

you stagger with


eager to glimpse








Small Bones

(Whithorn 1980s)


The first dig I saw,

a holy site in the far west,

under small trees

knocked sideways

by ceaseless wind,

dead priests tended

by archaeologists.


I drew close to the

hunched figures

brushing the ground

with paintbrushes,

bum pockets spilling

plastic bags,

they never looked up.


The keep-back fence

did not stop me from seeing

how small the fragments,

earth caked as they were,

how unremarkable,

not credibly human,

how small the bones.







Dining with Copernicus

‘Al Brindisi’, Ferrara


Piercing the shadows of narrow alleys,

the dusk sun sneaks a  low beam

onto a sign board – Al Brindisi AD 1435 -

yet another ‘oldest tavern in Europe.’


Banquettes, dark wine bottles

behind chicken wire frames,

a wooden board with cheese

spiralled from mild to ferocious,

the waiters whisper and offer

only expensive wine.


My place mat, made of brown paper,

says that Tasso and Cellini ate here,

so did the student Copernicus,

who, on seeing this same sky,

thought up earth moving heresies.


So do I, walking slowly back,

seeing the full moon through

the open oval above a courtyard,

thinking of the curious Copernicus,

a moment’s dizziness may just

have been the angle of my gaze,

but it felt like the moon sucking.







Something in the Blood


I know he has been nowhere

but inside my body, this babe

who lies in sea anemone motion,

expressing the oceans

of his heredity.


My meek sea empathy

has been to paddle and swim some,

once in deep rough water

with salt smacks in my face,

close to surrender.


So it must be that sea genes

swam from my blood to his,

changing cells that were me

to not me, building a stranger

inside his skin.


We stare into the pool,

at refractions, reflections,

The image seem clear

but underneath, his otherness

stirs small fears.



First published in chapbook form by Selkirk Lapwing Press. January 2008






The Virgin Mermaid


…and suddenly I saw rocks

and foam thrashing,

Gulls spinning in the air,

the wind smacked my face.

So this was the land.


Creatures moved there,

their cloven tails braced,

balancing their frames

as they picked at nets.

They had no salt smell.


A boat’s wake swept my back,

I rolled and saw him,

a land creature leaning down

to catch my flying arm.

He, fresh from the deep, had salt.


He lifted me from the water,

I flapped in fear and something sweeter.

He touched my scaly tail, he faltered.

We fell entangled, he struck out,

forgetting me, he sank away.


I heard the keening on the shore.

A creature wrapped in sacking

knee-deep and howling, cursed me.

So, cloven-tail her and fishy-tail me,

virgins both empty of love, locked eyes.







My Mother’s Poems


had the structure of housework

carried out each day, except Sunday,

in rigid order, in pinny and scarf.


No radio presence interrupted

her contemplation of her metaphors,

her broad sideboard surface the world’s


acres covered in dust and anguish.

She figured eighted a yellow duster

to deal with dust, extinguished


the anguish in small measures

of listening and compassion,

an unknown natural healer.


Each day’s dinner preparations

made her feel rich ; her casseroles

of mince and peas and carrots,


bubbling sluggishly in rich gravy,

made her treasure her

personal wealth in a poor world.


Cleaning the mess, messing the clean,

her recipe for good living.

Small philosophies in a good mind


made tame by family; each child

a promise of life after death,

each meal a down payment.





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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