Postcards From Malthusia DAY NINETY-EIGHT: Jean Atkin

Mid-June Selfie in the Hills


Wind bends the nettles and I

turn the phone cam on myself

to watch rain gutter off my hood

and down my nose


hair drenched to points

sticks to one cheek

I look in my eyes to see

doubt, of course


while cracked earth gulps all

the droplets sky

shakes loose and a wet bee

crawls in the cave of a foxglove


I breathe wet soil, wet

grass and also, faintly

something dead.   A sign

handwritten, badly spelt


on the farmyard gate, to ask me

not to walk the path just now

seems deeply lonely.  Rain

while I’m outside, is company.




Jean Atkin‘s new collection is How Time is in Fields (IDP, May 2019).  Her poetry has featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Ramblings’ with Claire Balding, and recent work appears in The Rialto, Magma, The Moth, Lighthouse and Agenda.  In 2019 she was Troubadour of the Hills for Ledbury Poetry Festival, and BBC National Poetry Day Poet for Shropshire.  


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