Kathryn Bevis

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the poet

Kathryn Bevis is Hampshire Poet 2020-21 and founder of The Writing School Online. Her poems have won several awards, including first prize in the Poets & Players and Against the Grain competitions, a commendation in the Hippocrates Prize for Medicine and Poetry, being shortlisted for the Nine Arches Press Primers scheme and, most recently, being longlisted for the National Poetry Competition. Kathryn’s poems have been published widely both in print and online and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. As well as teaching for The Writing School Online, Kathryn designs and delivers ACE and county council-funded Poetry for Wellbeing projects for adults in mental health settings, substance misuse recovery settings, and prisons. She is working towards her first collection.

the poems

starlings

00:00 / 01:50

in the beginning is the skydeep

and the skydeep is shapeless and hollow

and blankness dwells there

and the bodyus broods over the belly of the horizon

clinging to skeletons of trees

and we say let there be wavetrail

and there is wavetrail

and we divide the wavetrail from the skydeep

and the outpour from the inshrink

and we call the wavetrail WE ARE

and we call the skydeep IT IS

and we say let there be curlsmoke in the midst of the skyswim

and let it divide the WE ARE from the IT IS

and we fashion the curlsmoke from the skyswim

and it is so

and we call the curlsmoke ONE

and the skyswim we call MANY

and we say let the breakwave be heard among the MANY

and the pebblerush also

and we call the breakwave FLESH

and the pebblerush we call SPIRIT

and thus it is

then we say let the SPIRIT be divided into the skybright

we will call LIGHT and the outsnuff we will call DARKNESS

and let DARKNESS bring about a great shitting upon the earth

and we say let DARKNESS herald

the downpull and the stenchsweet,

the dirtroost and the clutchheart

and so it goes

glory be to the skydeep and the bodyus

the curlsmoke and the skyswim

glory be to the breakwave and the pebblerush

the dirtroost and the outsnuff

for we are the MANY

we are the ONE

Tidal Race

For Ollie

00:00 / 01:29

This morning found you capsized

and sinking in the campsite kitchen,

bloodless, clammy, haunted by the world

and all its doubles. They hauled you off

in their blue-light bus and I rode

beside, squeezed your shoulder tight,

willed you back to yesterday.

Drowning here, the reflected twin

of everything swims in your eyes,

pulls you far from reach. They wheel

you out and in, from scan to scan,

pump dye around your veins

and brain to find the chink

that let the shadows seep inside.

Hours slide behind

this green curtain and still

you get your sums wrong, still

believe in clones of fingers, faces, clocks

that press at the corners of your eyes,

maintaining they exist, insisting

on their right to be here.

Come back. We’ll grip the cliff edge

while the seal’s sleek head lifts

above the water’s surface, melts

to gloss again. Gannets will plunge,

gold-hooded, into the tidal race

and splash to scoop out cloud-marked

mackerel, flaring silver in the sun.

Matryoshka

00:00 / 01:20

We’re all in the family way. Full of ourselves.

In the pudding club, my dear.

On our shelf, we gather dust like dandruff

and listen to the sound of human children

growing. Their girls – once born –

are great squishy, smelly things that pule

and puke and shit the sodding bed.

Not ours. We are a nest with all our pretty

chicks inside. We are the hatchling

and the egg. Each of us is mother

to a daughter who is pregnant

with the next in line. Our bodies rhyme,

like the faces of the moon.

All except our smallest.

We don’t talk about it but

let me say it softly:

she was born with no space

inside. That’s right.

She’s wood all the way

through. It’s not that we

judge her, understand, but

we know (as only

mothers can)

she’ll never get to split

herself in two,

she’ll never have

to bear the others

as we do.

Publishing credits

starlings won Against the Grain Press’s competition in 2019 and has since been published in Fenland Poetry Journal: Issue 4, Spring 2021.

Tidal Race was shortlisted in the Live Canon Single Poem Competition 2020 and published in the Live Canon Anthology 2020.

Matryoshka was commended in the International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine 2021 and will shortly be published in the 2021 Hippocrates Prize Anthology.

S h a r e

© original authors 2021

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