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Poems by the selectors for SOUTH 69

The poems for SOUTH are selected anonymously by guest selectors. We thank Mary Bevan and Gill Horitz for selecting for SOUTH 69. A poem from each of them will appear below.

What Lies in the Winter Wood

End of day, end of year – and she’s thinking what’s next,
her head against the pane and the wind slamming the gate.

When she looks up, the trees are moving through the half light
towards her, through snow piled over the vanished road.
Not a single thought holds her back.
All the meanings held by the trees she remembers,
and how their barks can be unrolled and written upon.
No ordinary wood moves like this, and time is short.

Through the holly tunnels she sings a low song to the owl
and the night leans down, savouring her wintry breath.
What will I take from this, she thinks, looking back
as the moon hurries her along? To believe just once
that such a place exists, the imaginary heart
where everything worth moving towards lies.

©Gill Horitz


I stand before the Shogun’s favourite cup encased in glass, and read how ages long ago it fell at feasting, shattering on the hard stone floor. How then the warrior lord desired it to be mended but refused the ugly metal staples his men used. Until a stranger craftsman begged for leave to try his art, took up the pieces, glued them back together letting each crack still stand out wide and deep, then melted gold and layer upon layer with utmost care filled up the cracks one after one until at last the cup stood whole again but different – a mosaic of criss-crossing spiders’ webs in sparkling tracery. Now here it stands time-proof and glittering, a new thing out of ruin, vibrant in triumph, resembling nothing other than itself.

I see my face reflected in the glass beside the cup and smile, and celebrate all cracked imperfect things.

*Kintsugi – literally ‘golden repair’

©Mary Bevan

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