Poetry

My coronavirus case has a cherry pink lining

I choose my favourite vanity case

vintage cream with cherry pink lining,

pounced on in that Liverpool charity shop.

I lay down casual chats with my neighbours.

I lay down having you here.

Eating, together, at one on the dot.


There’s a corner for beloved musicians,

beaming beautiful covers of beautiful songs

live from their room to mine. A corner for listening parties,

a corner for shared lives online.


I have to leave space for the wipes, for hand gel, for grocery fear,

Space for missed hugs and markers,

time ebbed away in untouchable blur.

I leave space for those lives irretrievably changed,

space for masks and falsehood and failing;

snake coiled round the handle will strike.


I lay down the regular contact,

as they slip back to the noise of their life.

I think I’ll keep this case beside me

unzip when my loneliness bites.


This poem is a response to the prompt of packing up the 2020 pandemic which was part of my Telling your Story poetry and creative non-fiction course.

From the fields of Lincolnshire to the stakes of London – in honour of Anne Askew

I am no deer, no hind,

no bearer of quivering strength

I am a bull, an ox

straining at the plough shaft.

I know

where my examiner speaks

and where

he misses the book.

I draw from my God

my psalms

transform my memory

of the raising

five inches above the rack,

of dislocation

fathomless pain.

Still

my verse of truth

sustains me

even as arrogant foes attack.

At my seat, my stage,

my eyes look on

in triumph.


A response to a prompt based around the Tower of London, part of my Walking and Writing course.

What I will wear


Two inches of feather shaped metal,

stickleback hued,

shimmer through hair,

redder than red again.


Twelve holes laced with purple ribbon,

black if I’m not in the mood,

power my walk, not traded for heels,

not now, not ever again.


Colours of Indian sunset,

swishing my ankles and heels

fool choice for tending the garden,

baking a loaf yet again.


I’m not going to wait till it’s over.

I’m not undressing who I am.

Fragile, intangible armour,

dressing for no-one

again.

Kathryn Anna Marshall

April 2020

A response to the question “what I will do when things begin again” posed as part of Staying in and writing it out.


My first published piece was part of Mslexia’s themed writing section in Autumn 2018. I was thrilled to be part of the magazine, and especially with a piece inspired by a subject I often draw from – food and the oddly complicated relationship we all have with it.

A bowl of cherries

dolly mixture ballerina hedgehog birthday cakes but    you can      never  win the games      instant whip turkey burgers white sliced bread cut to bun shape      spilt orange squash            banana sandwiches just for me      won’t eat fish fingers wrong      still won’t eat fish fingers   wrong     still won’t eat fish    apples like old men’s hands wrapped in raw pastry     at least I like custard               I don’t like this custard          wrong        lunch box   wrong  sandwiches         wrong ringos                 wrong biscuit not a penguin  wrong  roughneck flask          wrong  coloured                  squash    then beanfeast in my room         of course I like it                                 and cornflakes mouldering     cornflakes       mouldering coffee mugs of shiny penicillin islands                        no I never had       chinese or pasta before     calculate round aldi seven pounds a week       no more      then      vomit on my travels and laxatives do work and fat  will (you love me)       melt away    ice cream    is the last  meal    you   beat                me through    I find a heart     I cook duck and             mexican fajitas and finally roast a chicken.      Now soup, complan, plenty of fluids          plenty       of fluids.    Plenty         of fluids      and I think there might be curled up sandwiches and cold sausage rolls and quiche because that is how we always end. 

A bowl of cherries started life as a series of notes for a piece of flash fiction, but developed into this curious piece of what I now know is called prose poetry.  I hadn’t used white space in my work before this piece, but it works with the stream of consciousness style. It’s a curious piece, but I like it

.


My poem View from Cook’s beach  was published in  Saltwaterzine early in 2019 – the zine seems to have gone dark, which is a shame. You can still read my poem on there though as well as several others. The poem records a moment of clarity, and a rare scrap of time without the gnaw of anxiety. 

View from Cook’s Beach

Panic slows

I watch the confidence of swell

wearing sand from stone.


I match my breath.

I remember my head on Mom’s chest.

I remember sea shells

stolen

from Whitby beach.

I match my breath.


Far off welcome swallows swirl

white horses swell

recede

and bees bob around Manuka trees.

I match my breath.


Out there,

sheets of blackening rain

move on

and still

I match

my breath.

The welcome swallow is a native of Australasia


Maiden Castle  features on Words for the Wild a gorgeous site brimming with poetry and short fiction devoted to the magic of the countryside. There are some wonderfully rich pieces of writing on this site, and I’m proud to be featured alongside them. 

Maiden Castle

Mist clings but does not soak
Breathe in and feel it spread like spores.
You cannot grasp. You float.

Turn to face ghost filled fields
spy the other path.
Mist clings but does not soak.

Needle whispers still come through and
curl round scuffed up shoes.
You cannot grasp. You float.

Draw up to all your three foot ten, feel
sparks run through your legs
Mist clings but does not soak.

Imagine that you are not seen
stare through the whisperers’ glare.
You cannot grasp. You float.

Mist is Latvian for home
yours is the edge, ahead, behind
Mist clings but does not soak
You cannot grasp. You float.

Kathryn Anna Marshall

This poem is one of the first I produced as part of Remi Graves’ The Decisive Moment Studio with Poetry School and you can see early versions on my “Poetry in progress” page. I wrestled with it for some time before feeling it was ready to go into the world, and came close to resigning it to my also-rans. A few months away from it, and a judicious  pruning seems to have been effective. I’m pleased with the final piece, and delighted that other people are too. 

A second feature in Words for the Wild is Rattus Rattus, which was published in September 2019

I’m also venturing into writing flash fiction, and you can read about my recent publication here https://kathrynannasite.wordpress.com/published-flash-fiction/