POEM Polly Atkin

NWR Issue 109


There are fledglings nesting in my sweetheart’s beard –
orphans too miniature, too quick for the camera

of a human eye to capture. Press your

cheek to the bristle till you wear its shadow,
be steady like a tree, unfurl. You may not

see them – they’re skittish with strangers – but

hear them tyee tyee tyeeking, feel

the light exhale as they flit from hair

to hair. There are not many men…

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Polly Atkin’s second poetry pamphlet, Shadow Dispatches, was published by Seren in 2013 after winning the Mslexia pamphlet prize. She is currently working on her first collection, forthcoming from Seren. Last year an extract from this was awarded the Andrew Waterhouse Prize in the Nothern Writers’ Awards. She has previously had poems published in journals including Magma, The rialto and Mslexia. Polly lives in Cumbria and currently teaches English Studies at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.


previous poem: Morning Prayer
next poem: The Centre


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