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Zannah Kearns



the poet

Freelance writer Zannah Kearns has had her poems featured in Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, The Dark Horse, Finished Creatures, Under the Radar, Ink, Sweat & Tears and Atrium. A members’ winner in a summer 2021 competition run by The Poetry Society, Zannah co-runs the Poets’ Café – a monthly open mic in Reading, Berkshire.

the poems

High Tide
in the Morning

00:00 / 01:13

                        It strikes me the moon controls more than our tides

                                just as these children

                                                   surge into my room, my bed

                                          crash into my heart, flood me with chatter,

                                their energies zingy as sea spray.

                        Lockdown: the house is awash

                                with unfinished projects, dirty socks

                                           scrunched-up sheets of abandoned drawings.

                        I’m scrolling news that’s rolling in

                                            story upon story

                                 too many names, too many splashes.

                        I can lose    hours    gazing at friends’ pictures

                                 their perfect reflections mirrored in lakes

                        but we’ve    all of us    blown far out to sea,

                                 swung on each wave at the whim of the moon.

                        Under sunlit   windswept skies

                                          we cast off

                                 into this day    its dip and swell

                                          into its lull

                                                     helming as best as we can.

Love as a Mutt

00:00 / 01:25

                        We run — our laughter bouncing against bricks and

                        the fence we threw mud at last Wednesday.

                        We run with faces turned for a moment

                        to the sun, feeling its glow as a kiss

                        on our skin, held for all memory.

                        The Earth has halted her turning to say

                        our names.

                                           Then, coats flapping with busted zips

                        we’re away again — hair unbrushed, fingers raw,

                        some nails bitten to bloody quicks, but none of it

                        matters because now

                                 snow falls!

                                          Gentle flakes spiral

                                                             through air stilled.

                        Skin bright, breath visible, our small hearts

                        are as hot as baked potatoes. We spread our hands

                        while the sky pegs out her grimy sheets.

                        Near some dustbins, a mangy dog cowers,

                        all ribs and bald patches. Some throw stones,

                        but Jamie tosses her coat, scoops the mutt —

                        ears cut off, bones a collection of loose rods

                        she can hardly keep in her arms.

                        I’ll call him Princess.

                                                    Bet you can’t keep him.

                        But Jamie, smiling, doesn’t hear.

On Holding On
and Being Held

00:00 / 01:31

                        In Aviemore, I climbed a wall of ice

                        glittering in the winter sun — an edifice of glass.

                        I led the route, kicking crampons to make shelves,

                        reaching up with yellow-handled axes, chipping holds;

                        scaling a ladder, right then left

                        like Jack climbing his beanstalk through the cloud,

                        snowflakes falling so thick they looked furred.

                        And my heart full.

                        It’s the first time I’d ever winter-climbed.

                        Everywhere, white was all I saw

                        so, even though I was several storeys high

                        with nothing much to hold me if I fell,

                        something about the surrounding cloud, the mountain’s bowl

                        like a cupped hand, felt substantial.

                        I, who am often consumed by fear, had none.

                        Sometimes now, far out on one of life’s edges,

                        I like to remember that day on the mountain

                        when the tips of my toes were hooked in its snow,

                        how the flat of each boot rested on air.

Publishing credits

High Tide in the Morning: Locked Down | Poems, Diaries and Art

  from the 2020 Pandemic (Poetry Space)

Love as a Mutt: Under the Radar (Issue 25)

On Holding On and Being Held: The Dark Horse (Issue 43)


S h a r e

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