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Kathryn Bevis



the poet

Hampshire Poet 2020-21 and founder of The Writing School, Kathryn Bevis won several awards, including first prizes in poetry competitions run by Poets & Players and Against the Grain Press. Shortlisted for the Nine Arches Press Primers scheme, Kathryn was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition. Her poems appeared in print and online, and were broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Kathryn also designed and delivered ACE and county council-funded Poetry for Wellbeing projects for adults in mental health and substance misuse recovery settings, as well as in prisons. Her debut collection was The Butterfly House.

the poems


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.


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: 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

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