WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

Anna Saunders is the author of Communion, (Wild Conversations Press), Struck, (Pindrop Press), Kissing the She Bear, (Wild Conversations Press) and Burne Jones and the Fox (Indigo Dreams).


She has had poems published in numerous journals and anthologies.


Anna holds a Masters in Creative and Critical Writing from The University of Gloucestershire and is the CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Festival.











138 x 216mm


52 pages


£8.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-81-7


PUB: 16 APRIL 2018










Anna Saunders


Ghosting for Beginners



Ghosting for Beginners


Having only the suggestion of fingers, ghosts

are unable to embrace the internet.


The impotent deceased instead resort

to rustling papers, slamming doors

photo bombing family portraits,

haloing the living with a nebulous haze.


You, however have all the tools to hand.


There’s no need to hang around graveyards

with malevolent intent

or hex the air with an ominous waft.


Simply disappear from her twitter feed,

become invisible on her wall,

leave vast gaps between texts.


Imagine how the ghouls will envy you

when you become a spectre on social media.


You can imagine why they are irked,

absence is their Calling Card.


Oh gauzy digits

hovering over the keys,

unable to make impression.


Oh ethereal fingers

unable to click in 'un-friend'.



Her Mane is Smoke Rising from Rough Land


her teeth an ancient wall. Her nose looks more like a snout

than we expected.


She's nothing like the horses we've seen in our picture books

or the shoe boxes we'd splashed with paint

to resemble dappled flanks.

We watch her jaundiced teeth as she eats.


Her eyes are glossy, darted with a slit, her rough tongue

glossy, engorged – a flailing rope of red.  


She’s tearing at the grass

as if it were a dress she wanted to remove

and I lean down and harvest for her.


Grafted tightly to the ground the thick stalks

take some plucking,

and I do not see her lower her head

like a boom bar.


The marks she leaves in my back are oval as a friendship circle,

scorching as a ring of fire.



Sowing Seeds


The papers in the hotel are full of the President

who thinks climate change is a hoax.

Headlines say It's Game Over for Planet Earth.


You take me to your fields where feral goats chew cud

and you tell me how you are planting yellow rattle

to suppress the rough grasses growth.


The ground is still tussocked but you talk

about meadow flowers, wild legumes,

the bovine hooves that cut open the swathe.


I tell you about the President and you say

when the waters rise London will become Atlantis.


A white horse, stately as Pegasus, watches us

as we stumble down the slope to the shore.


We are still talking about the earth's future

as we leave footprints on the sand.


The sea, its salty tongue working

like someone who will not stop speaking,

gets the final word.





In the orchard,

her tongue turns to cuckoo spit

at the sight of the overripe damsons

lying in the long grass.


They should have been plucked

long ago, he says.


His fingers gleam with honeyed juice

as he feeds her, then worms his tongue

into the pulp within her mouth.  


As he steals her sweetness

the fallen fruit, their skins split from impact,

weep a glitter into the ground.

On How Ghosts Take the Moral High Ground


A week after hanging himself he's back,

returned to the house of his fickle lover


shroud-bound, glassy faced, righteous, hovering above her bed

like a see-through falcon, ready to drop on prey.


The noose that did for him is lank as a snake's shed skin,

his tracing-paper fingers claw the air,


and he moans each time she kisses her new paramour

until they split apart, startled.


In life he was licentious,

but after death he's immaculate as a saint


scrubbed clean as if the Spiritual Realm

were a rough sponge brandished by a fierce hand.


All his sins are exfoliated now, his new skin

light as bible paper, lucent as rain.


Pity the poor woman beneath him

too guilt-struck to enjoy another’s embrace.


Imagine if each time you kissed a new lover

you were haunted by the one you betrayed.


Imagine if your sin was sent back – fingered,

pale hands holding a candle,


flame a halo around the shaft

so your darkness was broken by their pure white light.



To the Naturalist on Valentine’s Day


The rose stands in the thin vase,

its stem is like a amputated tail


in a fluid reserve.


Go and apologise to the trees

for what we have done.

Lopped them down for lumber

crushed their pulp for cards.


When you reach into the split bark

there is a faint pulse.


This one must be a hundred years old

it wears a heavy necklace of stalky green.


That one looks like Ted Hughes

impossibly lofty, swarthy,

with thick arms.


Later, lying in bed alone

you hear the rasping screech of the owl


the scream of something

that flies all night, exhilarated

by the dark, yet terrified

of its own appetite.



And Who Will Speak of the Ghost of the Rain


the spirits of the silver birches,

the traces of honeysuckle, the lily's souls?


We paint the spirit world as limbed and familiar,

describe a woman in jellyfish-bell

of crinoline skirt, gliding,


a drowned boy glistening with the lake that finished him,

a little girl, frothy with lace, clutching a doll,

skin glossy and grey as mercury spill.


But what of the spectre of cat,

darting under the door, like a vacuum-sucked flame,


the ghost moth, cocooned in its own gauzy blur,

the dead rose misted with its own mane?

What of the abstract other world?


Who dreams the rain's phantom in an arid land,

or writes of the spirit of the air – the grassy fragrance

plaintive amid the pollution – a bitter-sweet ballad

sung softly, under the breath.



9781910834817 anna signing

'Haunted not simply by ghosts, but - richly - by myth, culture, and places both known and unknown, Anna Saunders’s new collection, a beautifully evocative read, invites us to see how complex, and how inter-related, the world we live in really is.'

Fiona Sampson


‘In Ghosting for Beginners, Anna Saunders reveals to us a haunted world. In these precise, witty and unnerving poems, Saunders tests the limits between this world and the next. She asks profound questions about the light we try to hold onto and the darkness we struggle to keep at bay.’

David Clarke


‘Anna Saunders' is a modern myth-maker, unafraid of language and with her own rich and surprising vocabulary. She interrogates the good and bad, finding black humour and divine comedy in urban episodes of our collective, impatient and thirsty, often superficial, human comedy.’

Paul Stephenson


‘Superbly imagistic, calmly passionate, questioning yet surefooted, occasionally phantasmagoric but rooted firmly in lived experience, these are very fine poems indeed’.  

Rory Waterman


“These are poems which inhabit the shadowlands between reality and the imagined world – in which ghosts, folklore and myth are vividly present as versions of the things we experience in ‘real’ life.  There is beauty to be found here and a clear-eyed willingness to remain open to wonder and to the possibilities of transcendence.”

Katharine Towers


‘These are exquisite poems full of engaging characters and situations. Anna’s poems are infused with humour and poignancy and it is clear how much she loves language and revels in its use. These vivid poems are full of musicality.’

Alicia Stubbersfield