poem, poetry, publication

cat eyes and the tragedy of mother

Could I marry these two sharp silences? These yellow balls
that burn in stare and purr beneath
deep where the world is simple.

Are they cat eyes or a brace of griefs fresh
from the hunter’s recreation?

Will they say, I do? Two ochre brides
with their black faces and their undercurrent of woe. Cat

eyes are everything
like newborn infants that have barely tasted the world.

How can we know without tragedy? All the broken
birds and mouse heads merely death’s decoration
like my mother’s trousseau and her years of mending only

to be lost in the stitches
and the thread falling away
her bloody thumb a jewel. She married a ductile grief

its lifeline on her palm
the law of its docile acquiescence
that lifted only to plug the hollow of my despair. The day she died

my wasted roots fell away
and I was born again like an inconsolable thunder.

From Throats Full of Graves (Lapwing Publications, 2013)

My mother would have been 75 today.


September Poem

It would have been my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary today.

September 4th (someone’s wedding anniversary)
The graveyard has no heart or history                       a terrible now
of poor hours              of sidelined souls.
I am frantic with disquiet and sudden memory                     dreaming
of him              younger           his eye falling on other flowers
pink poppies                all new                        amid the dying and dust
behind the storms laying their backs to the living, the frown of the living
creases of sadness and despair.         Does it matter
my fingers are an absence?
when the graveyard still breathes, gentle as a blind hand                when
its language is lost                  when its weddings are farewells.

Throats Full of Graves

Throats Full of Graves




From ‘Throats Full of Graves’ (Lapwing Publications, 2013)


August Poem

August, Departing

Here’s the stain,
heaved out
and an orchard of clouds
sleeping. The crows flee
warm fugitives
on August’s blunt edge. I see
a distant coldness,
the skirt of the sun shirking.
The tide is loud with the drowned
and the windy chains of gulls.
The air smells of salty bone
and the womb forgetting.
By the rotting light I breathe,
counting the pretty darknesses.

Throats Full of Graves

Throats Full of Graves

From ‘Throats Full of Graves’. First Published at ‘Ink, Sweat and Tears’.

I have one signed copy available. If interested please email me gillianprew@btinternet.com


Scene from July

Scene from July

Pink wall of glum sun with its birdsong blush
numb, like a cement bloom;
its scent a ruined yellow. This is not summer,
nor any truthful season. How life bends
to a weary scrape along a gulling codeine mist.
The blind days gaze like a black scrying mirror:
a glassy lie in a dusty summertime,
and the river runs a diamond spiderlight
below the heavy hill – a mottled grave.

Throats Full of Graves

Throats Full of Graves

From ‘Throats Full of Graves’, Lapwing Publications, 2013. First published at ‘The Poetry Shed’.


April Poems

Leaving April

Woman, willow-stooped and worm-wed,
her voice spilt shadow,
leaving April in soured knots and velvet.
Sad-burst, her bluebell breasts they fade
her silence and her song. Too pink,
her buds for blooming too late
to die. Farewell,
her dumb sun on a child wind,
the rising of dusty muscle
her dry water luminous with bones.

Throats Full of Graves

Throats Full of Graves




 From Throats Full of Graves, Lapwing Publications, 2013

previously published at Bone Orchard Poetry



April’s Disappointment

The wind, it barks, and the forests are without treetops.
the veil of air
reminds me grey-quiet. A brighter sound       somewhere
lonely for a scent. A head-down daffodil
a petal from ruin.         The people
stuffed in the gut
with jobs and carcasses. Must/
a durable soul
be driven down further?         Elsewhere

the sun shines/the ground is warm/
the flowers are bloomed proud.

A Wound's Sound

A Wound’s Sound




From A Wound’s Sound, Oneiros Books, 2014

Previously published at A New Ulster


March Poems

March Morning

Out of winter, grief-dusted and new sun,
March morning tears hyacinths from the sky.
I rise, bright-boned and rotted bud,
sick of myself, of love, of blood. I rub
red writing onto my skin.        I am not dead
just numb and a fist, a balcony’s edge
where the bride waves thin,
all sugar and shut-off shadows.

Throats Full of Graves


From ‘Throats Full of Graves’ (Lapwing Publications, 2013)

March, Revisited

Lifted, listen to the stains of the birds
their eyes oil, their flight a flowered rain.

No sun stammers above the cloud. No sun
cleans the tide, wraps the dead.          Bloodless/

the stalks of spring wait to be flames.
Their sappy blades are madness. Only sorrow

sees them, alone as a tied dog waiting
for a yellow bone, a heavy ink
to give it a name.

I cannot move.          This is my rain perhaps/
my pulse the waves of the firth,
the gulls fishing for graves.


A Wound's Sound

From ‘A Wound’s Sound’ (Oneiros Books, 2014)




A summary of my year in poetry: I was very pleased to have 29 poems published. The year started with a poem in Helen Ivory’s excellent ‘ink sweat & tears’ and finished with three in Josephine Corcoran’s equally excellent ‘And Other Poems’. I was especially pleased to be included in 2 Scottish e-zines, ‘The Open Mouse’ edited by Colin Will and ‘From Glasgow to Saturn’ edited by students of The University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing Programme. Other poems were published in USA, India and Ireland. I am especially indebted to Christine Murray for publishing some of my new work at ‘Poethead‘ which is leading the way in supporting and sharing the work of women writers. She was also kind enough to review my book ‘Throats Full of Graves’ which was published by Lapwing Publications in 2013. My thanks go to Dennis Grieg for that. You can purchase it here. Thanks also to David McLean, Tim Buck and Barton Smock for reviewing the book and all those who bought it.

Next year I hope to complete my manuscript ‘A Wound’s Sound’. I have 41 poems written for it to date. I may either enter it in a competition or send it out to publishers. I already have two poems accepted for publication in February in ‘Deep Water Literary Journal’. My aim is to continue to send out poems to places where I’ll probably be rejected.

I hope that all poets and readers have a wonderful 2014.



Throats Full of Graves: A Review

I am very grateful to Barton Smock for his thoughtful review of Throats Full of Graves which you can read at his blog kingsoftrain. You can also read it at his ezine Pornsad, both places worthy of a visit in their own right. You can purchase the book from Lapwing Publications Store. Signed copies are also available directly from me.

poem, publication

‘Of Luminous Bones’ & ‘A Gentle Nihilism’

I am very pleased to say that ‘Throats Full of Graves’ is now available for purchase through Lapwing Publications website. In addition, I have received two wonderful reviews of the book. The first is from the Irish poet, Chris Murray, and you can read it at her website PoetheadI enjoyed very much her eloquent reaction to the book appreciating especially the perspective of another woman. It is also available to read at Open Salon.  The second review is a thoughtful appraisal from Tim Buck who has previously written several times about my work and I am extremely grateful for his continued support. You can read his beautifully written review at My Dripping Brain.