your verb is all water and light by Gillian Prew & Sweet Chestnut by Maggie Mackay

in Poetry

your verb is all water and light and Variations on an Apology are by Gillian Prew and Maggie Mackay respectively. They are the title poems of pamphlets in a series produced by poet and artist Karen Little in her trailer home. Little created the original hand painted covers. The project is a fundraiser for animal welfare charities.

Gillian Prew’s published works include three chapbooks Disconnections (erbacce-press, 2011) and In the Broken Things (Virgogray, 2011) and Three Colours Grief (erbacce-press, 2016) also  two collections of poems Throats Full of Graves (Lapwing Publications, 2013 and A Wound’s Sound (Oneiros, 2014). She has been twice short-listed for the erbacce-prize and twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Maggie Mackay is an MA graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University with a fascination for family history. One of her poems is included in the award-winning #MeToo anthology. Others have been nominated for The Forward Prize, Best Single Poem, the Pushcart Prize while another was commended in the Mothers’ Milk Writing Prize. Her pamphlet ‘The Heart of the Run’ is published by Picaroon Poetry. She has begun a PhD in Poetry at the University of Strathclyde.



your verb is all water and light            by Gillian Prew


an oil slick of colours all wind and spindrift
a kaleidoscope

not meat
or a sheep’s fleece hung out, steaming/ not something a man kills

you do
like a liquid prism

good grief
you are wild
a brave beam of broken

I feel my heart crimson – beat
by beat it composes a bursting –

the lochside is hurting
a heron calls like a king/ raises his wings like a cloak of rain
his feet still rooted to the shallows

your thrill of colour makes no sound/
you pass quiet as a cloud
into light and water

I will have you Instagrammed soon


Sweet Chestnut               by Maggie Mackay


Mary Fleming’s cousin queen planted it
on a winter’s day between hunting with hawks
and the evening’s masque ball.
It stands today, tipped at ninety degrees
listening to the wind, bowing to the earth.
Aged events twist through its fissured trunk;
two weddings of Mary Stuart, her execution in red,
the murder of cowering, crook-backed Rizzio,
her baby-king’s baptism, the union of the crowns,
and the stitching of a lady-in-waiting’s gown,
silver cloth bejewelled for her moment,
as Queen of the Day.
I know I was performing a huge public service.