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Poems by the selectors for SOUTH 61

The poems for SOUTH are selected anonymously by guest selectors. We thank Kitty Coles and Greg Freeman who selected the poems for this issue. A poem from each of them appears below.


The soul should always stand ajar…
Emily Dickinson

To live without breath, without the air’s flicker
between the lips, pulled down through the chest like a ribbon.

To live without eating, to live on words and intention,
on the white glance of the moon, her ribby scarps of shadow.

To live without speaking, dressed head to toe in silence
as thick as velvet, the splendour of its plush.

To live without sleep, its viscous, traitorous undertow;
to wake from waking to wakefulness, fine and aflame.

To live without others, with only light from the spirit
to warm the skin, to touch the flesh like a union.

To live without pain, setting aside its yearning
to colonise the bones and shawl the heart.

To live with the soul ajar, forever ready
for rapture to come in and take it up.

©Kitty Coles


Routine is important.
A glass of red each evening
at five when the latest
government health advice
is screened. My
indigestion is easing.
Regular, healthy meals together,
no dashing out in the evening.
The calendar’s blank spaces,
just the odd event scrawled
in months ago and left
for historic interest.

And some things are becoming clearer.
The social stigma of looting loo rolls.
The clapping of health workers,
even outside Downing Street;
we are all in this together.
I can get through most things
as long as you are there
in the next room,
painting your tulips and freesias.

©Greg Freeman

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