Skip to main content
A Magazine for

The way the words were

Nz662tgp

Sometimes you chose to toss them into the air,
to dance paper thin as butterflies,
waited to see which flowers they'd grace.
Tested their weight, as if worth
could be determined by scales,
held them close or cradled them like shells.
It was never an exact science
yet some were as snug as glass slippers
but much more comfortable.
Some came out in a rat-a-tat
of machine gun fire, bullets
that couldn't be recalled;
the sheer force of a waterfall,
that sped and gushed. So even
rocks were worn and smoothed.
Maybe they were ointments or herbs
with the power to heal, if only you knew
how to pick the ones you needed.
There were days when there was nothing
left on the shelves - not even candles or prayers
remained; or a surfeit you decided not to use,
kept them in your pockets like pebbles.
They could do no damage there.
You were never once tempted
to give them up; the ones you did not
voice, you wrote down.
It was always a love affair.

Learn more

More Wordlife

Flood Risk Management Strategy

What if climate change meant turning parts of the city into flood mitigation reservoirs? This poem imagines the result.

Not Really

Ever woken up knowing that a relative, or even a pet, has died? Here's one woman telling her story.

Extract from ‘Offcomers’

Shortlisted for the Benedict Kiely Award and given a special mention in the Galley Beggar Prize, Rosanna Hildyard's 'Offcomers' takes you back 20 years, to the Foot & Mouth epidemic in Yorkshire.

More Wordlife