Kathryn Bevis

Kathryn Bevis



the poet

Kathryn Bevis, Hampshire Poet 2020-21 and founder of The Writing School Online, has won several awards for her poetry. These include first prizes in competitions run by Poets & Players and Against the Grain Press. She was also shortlisted for the Nine Arches Press Primers scheme – and most recently, longlisted for the National Poetry Competition. Kathryn’s poems have appeared in print and online, and been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. A teacher for The Writing School Online, Kathryn also designs and delivers ACE and county council-funded Poetry for Wellbeing projects for adults in mental health and substance misuse recovery settings, as well as in prisons. She’s working towards her first collection.

the poems


00:00 / 01:44

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 / 01:44

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.


00:00 / 01:44

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: winner of the 2019 Against the Grain Press Poem

  Competition / Fenland Poetry Journal (Issue 4)

Tidal Race: shortlisted in the 2020 Live Canon Single Poem

  Competition / Live Canon Anthology 2020 (Live Canon)

Matryoshka: commended in the 2021 International Hippocrates

  Prize for Poetry and Medicine / 2021 Hippocrates Prize Anthology

  (Hippocrates Initiative)

S h a r e