Following our submissions call for short poems exploring themes of appreciation, gratitude and thankfulness, and the publication of the communal cento (or quilt) poem earlier this week, we’re pleased to be sharing three of the poems that we felt really communicated the ethos of Appreciation Day as well as capturing some of the tender moments that have shaped experiences over the past year or so.
The first poem we’d like to share is ‘On my list’ by Wendy Allen. We love the sensory detail and tactility of this poem, its meditation on touch, its almost palpable sense of longing, of desire…
‘On my list’
ruby jewelled lipstick the colour of Mooncup,
29.3ml of sediment red which remains defiantly matte
when we kiss passionately on the Southbank.
Red Riding Hood lips against you against the yellow
façade of The Hayward Gallery, I want you.
An old cardigan pulled tight becomes a life vest, I want
your face traced between my thighs like cashmere.
My eyeliner is perfect, I take a photo. I want you to see.
I’m grateful you know me. The postcard I send to you is empty
but as always, says too much. I want to say too much.
Wendy Allen is an unpublished poet. She has been writing poetry since April 2020 and has spent the last 20 years as cabin crew.
The second poem we’d like to share is Samantha Ley’s entry which feels very much like a celebration of the exuberance and joy of girlhood and the immersivity of imaginative play…
The girls dance and shriek, trailing rainbow-colored kites
through the yard.
They are five. They find everything to do, and still need more:
A pretend tea party, a water table,
Chalk, soccer, toy rockets landing on the roof.
They need us to retrieve the trapped
Toy rockets. Ravenous, as always, they need
Food. Otherwise, they
Don’t need us. They are five. They exist
In this moment, to laugh with one another.
Samantha Ley lives near Albany, New York, where she works as a freelance writer and editor. Her fiction has appeared in a number of online publications. She can be reached at samjley AT gmail.com and @SaminBingo on Twitter.
And finally, we’re sharing ‘Irregular Jackdaw’ by Brunel alumna Anneka Hess. Gardens and public green spaces have been of increasing importance to many of us this past year, and a number of the entries took the form of odes to nature, the seasons, our fur-babies and feathered friends. What we love about this poem in particular is the way it beautifully centres the relationship between the human and non-human. We were also struck by how the work conveys a cautious optimism and sense of affirming resilience…
And as the blossom arrives again
So do you
Furious chatter against the cottage chimney
Feathers-inked and scissor-beaked
Ravenous for seed
And we meet in the awakening garden
Both more crumpled than last year
Both more relieved to be here
For one more spring
Anneka Hess spends too much of her time in a pile of books and cats, and too little writing. https://twitter.com/Inkybloomers
We would like to thank everyone who sent us submissions and shared what they are grateful for. Keep an eye out on our social media (@BrunelWriter) where we will post the commended entries so you can share them and spread the sentiment of appreciation, gratidute and thankfulness.