Natalie Crick, A Beautiful Death

Natalie Crick, from the UK, has found delight in writing all of her life and first began when she was a very young girl. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in a range of journals and magazines including The Chiron Review, Interpreters House, Ink in Thirds, Rust and Moth, The Penwood Review. Her work also features or is forthcoming in a number of anthologies, including Lehigh Valley Vanguard Collections 13. This year her poem, ‘Sunday School’ was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Breath of Sun

Winter clouds are haloed between
Leaden sea and sky

Where Periwinkle blossoms
On the mountain ridge.

The Eucalyptus stirs
And scents the air.

Breath of sun alights,
Blinds,

Slipping into browning leaves
To surrender the past,

Dispossessed of sleep,
Drifting into dark;

A ghost, moon-bleached.
Moths swoop and twist,

Grey petals
Softened with savanna light.
Dying relics flake away.

This House

Fog rolls in on the red mountain.
A husk. It is blood Winter.

We sell ourselves, ounce by ounce
To the moon.

The sky has swallowed it’s full and
Grows colder, darker.

Years peel back like rind.
My children are as old as scars.

There is no air in this
Dead bird of a bedroom.

Panic spreads, wildfire.
I wish myself a ghost town,

Wish myself the cool hush of night,
A blanket of dusk,

Listening to illness move
Beneath the floorboards,
Moths to red clouds,
Clogging my throat like cinnamon.

Never trust the spirit.
It escapes as steam in dreams.

More light. Fog is rising.
Let us go in.

At the End of Autumn

I once watched you ripen like a grape
In the sun’s punishing heat,
Soaking blood into cloth,
Leaves spread under flames,
Flowers brown corpses
Floating face down,
Lilies deformed
Of billowing tongue.
Night fell down
Thicker and faster,
A purpling sky,
Secrets all bleeding,
The mouth of December
Robed in the cold crawl of it.
Then white noise.
Every cherry-tree skeleton
Aching for shelter,

All in wet catharsis.
I long for the cold harps of Autumn.

Ghost

Night is an open mouth.
Her touch minnows the water,

Whispers leaves as if
Through lace to some

Forbidden ear,
Combs my hair with glassy fingers,

A memory of her breath
Heard beneath the door,

The warmth apparent
That haunts her absent lungs.

Ghosts are there to see by.
You remember.

Swan

I scrub mouse blood from the floorboards
Imagining ice,
Imagining throats.
The dead stay dead.

A necked Swan
Sits disgraced,
The pale bone poking through, a
Sword rising from a lake
Sharp and still sheathed.
The bone is so white
I could have carved
It from wax,
Soft as bees,
A candle without a flame.

Forever Winter, the sky
Looks cold, pink as a clot
In the mouth
When the lights go out.

Autumn Glory oil painting

Artwork Anne McDonald, entitled ‘Autumn Glory’: Anne McDonald is a writer and artist who works with groups and individuals to inspire and encourage people to make a start or a piece of art. Writing published in Women’s Work1 & 2, Hot Press, Electric Acorn 17, Women’s News and winner of several poetry competitions.

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