Olivia Dawson

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the poet

Discovering poetry as a mature Open University student, Olivia Dawson went on to publish her debut pamphlet, Unfolded, in September 2020. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Magma, Under the Radar, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, 14 Magazine and Eye Flash Poetry. Her work is also in the anthology, Time & Tide. Originally from London, Olivia now lives between there and Lisbon, where she's the area's Poetry Society Stanza representative.

the poems

Kylerhea Ferry Slip –
Isle of Skye

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            Two moon jellyfish tremble

            close to shore where chill water


            licks slippery rocks. The sea pleats

            like accordion silk until an otter


            stirs the surface, twitches drops from whiskers,

            peers about, chases his tail


            then deep dives to re-emerge

            alongside the white flash of a fin


            zinc against teal, tacking a seam

            through spindrift like running stitch.

Uncertain Coast

Found poem with words from the Met Office online

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            Sunnier drizzle will probably spread

                            through variable conditions with a risk


            of wet and dry. Somewhat changeable,

                            but more settled, however perhaps


            cloudier thunder in odd spots

                            should be expected, at times


            from the West, even the South. Elsewhere

                            a chance of mist, the spread of an average,


            the possibility of breezy seas,

                            scatterings of outlook, bright fog


            interspersed with isolated dying.

                            Cold spells bounce back slowly,


            wintry snow patchy in occasional places,

                            uncertain coast likely to last until May.

Cosmetologist Creates
Shampoo Infused
with Sound

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            It’s hard to trap snuffles of a baby’s breath,

            the sssh of foam at low tide or the exhausted sigh

            of a heart when it breaks. I need silence, a sleight of hand,


            butterfly nets, Blu Tack to catch elusive threads,

            a freezer set to hoar frost until echoes split

            ready to be grated and mixed with white peach.


            Of course I make mistakes: the last batch picked up

            the zing of a trampoline spring from over the garden wall.

            But uncork this flask and what do you get?

            Why – use your imagination!

Publishing credits

Kylerhea Ferry Slip – Isle of Skye:

  Coast to Coast to Coast (Special Aldeburgh Issue)

Uncertain Coast: 14 Magazine (Series 2, Issue 2)

Cosmetologist Creates Shampoo Infused with Sound:

  exclusive first publication by iamb