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Two poems.


barbed ruleDecember Daffodils

_______________for the children of Gaza

WE WERE MADE promises
by ghosts
who shovelled the dark over us

we broke
the bars of our skin and bloomed
here is light but a cold light

where is the flying buzzing
thing to clear
this clog of nectar from our heads?

we have come home
to a strange
place, where are the eyes

for our tears?
what can we do but bang
on the wires

of this life’s trap?
bodies, rub
yourselves out

cram these green
necks back into black

is that you, spring
pretending you don’t see
us stick

out our yellow tongues,
pretending you don’t see
them throw

white beards on our buds,
pretending you don’t see
them wrap

our throats in ice,
pretending you don’t see
us standing

having not even the earth
having nothing to die for

barbed ruleSnow

I KNEW A child who could not read
she faced the black patterns

and told them stories
she was told what letters were

now she opens a book and cannot stop
seeing words

the same ones
stuck in the same order

there are no lessons in this
white alphabet

I am stupid at you, snow
I can’t wait to get you wrong


trace round my voice with a
blunt pencil

miss a corner, let the margin slip _____do
not be careful

this is how I sound in the foam-walled
room you make of the world

you vanish when you hit me
I catch and lose

you in one
always you fall as near to silent

as me when honesty
is all I have


anonymous creatures
scratch in the guts of this roof

I am happy I am blind
to what damage

they must do
this way of life cannot not

where else will keep them warm?

if no-one sees the you
I see and I

smoke you out of my head
what will die?


each crystal: a decision
I never quite made

rushing everywhere but down
one meets glass _____and

slides away
ignored populations

tired by the idea of being weighed
royal-wave themselves up,

up; set up
camp on a cloud _____crushed by the first

goose wing-prints
tacking a line south on the sun’s heels


soon you will mean less
to me. I will wake up and just not

see you. please help me to understand
how to make soon

now. soon has as much definition
as a flake of you

soon signs no paper
soon is a shovel

clearing the months
like the one I carry when I

don’t want to but must go
out into you


I should be writing in snow
I could put my back into it

if I slipped onto sky, I’d know _____new

would erase my thoughts

and throw over their open endings
smooth banks

this ground is a promise
made because it wanted to come true

having all the same to fall


today the path more travelled
is no less invisible

_____just then a flake
will that be the first to never melt?

will the next green phase
be out by one white

mark _____a cut
too quickly plastered up

by a skin that could not quite
recall itself

and still, under pressure


see the dots
as unhappened kisses

searching out their mouths

keeping secrets
not even they remember

rain that lost confidence

planning to knock

shaking the fern’s
firm fingers


attic violins
would be more in tune

but I know these giant shapes _____here
come starlings!

a spruce welcomes a million
I copy its arms _____find me,

pigeons of Trafalgar Square!
a robin jostles the ghosts for air-space

some slip flock _____look more their own
size: flies

round my outstretched tongue’s dirty dish


a magician once taught me
how to rip paper

ball up the shreds and wave out one
good-as-new piece

years later I remembered what paper can do
in front of you, reenacted

the ripping_____wait
I must have missed something

I was gripping a ripped up piece of paper
it still is ripped

but you wanted magic
so I opened the fist and out fell this snow

Ruby Turok-Squire grew up in Cambridge, UK, and studied music composition and English literature at Oberlin College and Conservatory, USA. This is her first publication. She is currently traveling around the world as a Watson Fellow (, studying the music of animals.


One Comment

  1. wrote:

    Hi, Ruby,

    Two wonderful poems. The final section from ‘Snow’ is both clever and charming. I am certain we will be reading a lot more of your work in the future.

    Thursday, 30 June 2016 at 11:21 | Permalink

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