Sue Hubbard, Vivienne Tregenza, Victoria Field and World Suicide Prevention Day


Amongst “things found”
a vast plastic bag of books
as, if like that boy-king
with his painted peacock-eye
of kohl, you could fill
that metal tomb, that gas-filled car
with seeds of dormant knowledge
like grains of ancient barley that sprout
centuries after the plunder of grave-dark
to equip you for another better life.
Alchemies and knowledge
that had not served, had
failed you here. As if,
as if you could lay down
pearls, gobbets of wisdom
like dates or carved sardonynx,
blue lapis lazuli set in granulated
beads or gold, rare tinctures or
ointments of myrrh, to be absorbed
through your alabaster skin,
as the night enfolded you,
drew you home across
the dark-green, green-dark
Styx, to where such knowledge
may yeild meaning beyond
the hollow howl of words.

From Ghost Station (Salt Publishing)

Sue Hubbard is a freelance art critic, novelist, award-winning poet, lecturer and broadcaster. Twice winner of the London Writers’ competition and a Hawthornden Fellow, she was the Poetry Society’s first-ever Public Art Poet commissioned by the Arts Council and the BFI to create London’s biggest art poem that leads from Waterloo to the IMAX. Her books of poetry include Everything Begins with the Skin (Enitharmon 1994). A selection of poems in Oxford Poets 2000 (Carcanet). Ghost Station (Salt Publishing 2004), The Idea of Islands (Occasional Press 2010) and The Forgetting and Remembering of Air (Salt Publishing 2014).

Neither Your Mother’s Pleas

You were bright
as winter light on water,
quick as a deer, startled

under the quivering leaves of the forest
and running for your life
when they caught you.

You couldn’t stay
as you were –
ensnared and doped…

High above the dull earth
on the narrow walk-way
you caught sight

of something dazzling,
brighter even
than winter light on water

and leaping, left behind
this world of ours.
It was not enough to keep you.

Neither your mother’s pleas
nor the earth, sun and moon
in all their glory

were enough to keep you.

Vivienne Tregenza has been published in many magazines including Acumen, Ambit, The Frogmore Papers, Cinnamon Press and recent prizes in ARTEMISpoetry (commended by Jackie Kay), The Frogmore Prize and was a Cinnamon Debut Collection finalist. She has been published in various anthologies and her prize-winning poem published in Poetry on the Lake Journal One ed. by Gabriel Griffin. Vivienne is working towards a full collection.


Opening the Gate

In five years, we had just two, true conversations.
The first expansive, outside in sunshine, marriage

on both our minds – we were wedding guests
on a perfect May day, everyone joyful, dressed up,

bubbling with mild hysteria. You acknowledged
a wistfulness, too, for those of us not, or not yet,

(and, now, never can be) – happily spliced.
At least that’s what I read between your easy banter

and serious discussion of churches and religion – like me,
you seemed on the edge – half in half out

but yearning too, wanting to know more about
that one-way gate, the jewelled road tumbling towards

an amazing light and open arms. The second time
we talked one-to-one, was in winter, a cold, dead day

between Christmas and New Year. Kind friends
brightened the darkness with a party and games

but you, subdued, were not quite there –
told me it had been a dreadful year.

More and more, you said, you’d been in the cathedral
asking the questions it understands so well

but finding no answers. ‘A permanent solution
to a temporary problem,’ someone said, afterwards,

not seeing the solution’s already a given –
the dilemma’s not why, but how, what and when –

the why-nots of love, work and friends, irrelevant –
they’ll all soon be gone, in any case. Not a moment of madness –

you choreographed a small theatre of action – and then?
Was it a drop through cool dark to a nothingness of total peace?

Or did you spiral skyward past blossom and birds
to the embrace of a bride, and the blue of her miraculous eyes?

Victoria Field is a writer and poetry therapist based in Canterbury, Kent.



December poems part 4: Victoria Field, Caroline Carver, Carolina Read


Artwork: Jenny Mielihove

On the shortest day, I walk, reading the birds
Starlings massed on black trees
are hieroglyphs telling the loss of the sun

Blackbird grammar
clatters from chaos of brambles
warning signs written in sharp tongues

High, dense clouds –
a lower-case lesson in how grey
changes imperceptibly

stays always the same,
sky’s flat repetition
of its periodic sentence

Lanes are books of choices –
chapters can’t be re-read
with the knowledge of crossroads yet to come

The buzzard’s
specialist subject is killing –
he’s rehearsing bullet point answers to vole

Pheasants illuminate the fields –
too many colours on one page
tales of beauty, vulnerable

Some instruction surprises the starlings –
they spill from scratched branches
like burning paper, fall on the sky

There’s nothing to read in these lanes
but birds – puddles are clear glass
I am unwritten

On the longest night
moon rises in a curtainless window –
my wordless index of days.

from Many Waters (fal 2006)

Victoria Field

Victoria Field is a writer and poetry therapist now based in Canterbury  after twelve years in Cornwall.  Her latest poetry collection, The Lost  Boys was published by Waterloo Press  in November 2013 and she is currently at work on a new play, BENSON, to be  showcased at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury in April 2014.  She offers  training and workshops in the therapeutic use of creative reading and writing,  including teaching regularly at Ty Newydd, the National Writers Centre for Wales: http://www.literaturewales.org/ty-newydd/    She blogs at www.poetrytherapynews.wordpress.com



Artwork: Fabian Arts


the language of cold
35° below zero Banff Alberta

Air stands above each chimney
like a battalion of frozen warriors
like libraries of Confucian scrolls
inscribed at the top of the world
by monks whose scratchy pens
sculpt icicles in the thin air

the trees of the forest hold to their long silence

Breath crystallises
into words without sound
lungs heave and sigh
trying to pull something anything
back from chasms of pain

cold wants to force itself on us
pushes ribs apart
bulks in nostrils tugs at eyelashes
crusts any shred of skin it finds exposed

as it sings of frostbite lost fingers and toes
disfigured faces as it invades mittens
creeps unstoppably into boots

Step up step up dear friends!
cold lifts you to the impossible
offers Bigfoot snow queens ice spirits

You must say to your body
Heart be strong! Feet! do not leave me!
no part of you is headed for nature’s dustbin
we WILL be reunited

…………you must believe this …


.Caroline Carver

Caroline Carver is a poet and promoter of poetry and poetry events, especially in Cornwall.  She started her conscious life in Bermuda and Jamaica, came back to school in England, and then moved to Canada. She now lives in Cornwall, rummaging through the memory bank as she writes. She’s a National Prize winner, poet-in-residence at Trebah Gardens, a Hawthornden Fellow, and has published three poetry collections. See more of her work here.  Most recently she has been Poet-in-residence at Plymouth Univeristy.



Artwork: Franz Marc

Winter Flower

No one knows my name.
It is hidden deep
within the seed that spoke of me.
I can reveal the bright wind, wide skies
and be of the lemon Sun –
Winter will strengthen these petals
and make feisty my stem.
I will rise my head to the stars
in these long still nights.

Yet close to the ground, I remain-
in becoming of my name
for this is destiny.
Born to be incandescent
in my inward, beautiful way.

Carolina Read works as a specialist Physiotherapist in learning disability in the NHS. She integrates many healing streams of influence into her work and life, from where she finds her passion for words and their meaning arises. Her greatest love is of the language that lives in all Nature, beyond our understanding and marvel.