INDIGO DREAMS PUBLISHING LTD
GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2021
138 x 216mm
£9.50 + P&P UK
Anna Saunders is the author of 'Communion', 'Struck', 'Kissing the She Bear', 'Burne Jones and the Fox' and 'Ghosting for Beginners.'
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.
That night the moon – a pearl bowl in the night sky
tipped a glitter into my upturned face
and I drank it deep.
Now I am drunk all day,
and this morning I plucked febrifugia,
to smother my flames.
Surely these white stars will heal?
Their heady scent fills my rooms, like an animal
moulting musky fur.
I dreamt I pushed my petals into your mouth
to soothe your throbbing head.
My realms are sky, the moon is mine.
I carry this lunar vessel,
cold but burning in my upturned palm –
a second offering to the gods.
I Stole a Butterfly
carried him home under my shirt, a second heart
In my dark rooms I stripped,
wore him as a plumy brooch against my bare breast.
I laid out every flower from which he could feed,
gave him ripe fruit so he guzzled and swooned
but when he flew towards the window and battered
against the glass I pulled down the blinds.
I couldn’t blame him for wanting the wild flower meadows,
beauty draws its double
but I wanted him
with his mirrored wings, to reflect back only me.
He didn’t last long without light.
I found him cold – wings flat as a fresh new page.
I scooped him up too easily, expected something more
than a gaudy fallen feather.
Who would have thought he would be so weightless
No one told me quite how much he needed the sky.
I still feel that extra heartbeat, hard against my chest.
Please step Aside So I can Write About the Living
You need to get the dead out of your poems
you told me but here I am writing of how
a month before you left this earth
we stood together in the gallery and I saw you reflected
in the fictive space of a painting
your form, gleaming white, translucent
as thin frost, or a sleek gauze
floating on the black glass as if airborne
a premature, amorphous haunting
your ghost getting here ahead of you.
You, see-through, overlaying an oil sky
which takes up almost all the canvas.
In that huge starless heaven,
a white dwelling is as diminished
as a tooth in a cavernous mouth,
a moth flying in space.
Your steps are so light
as you walk nearer to me.
How brave to paint so much darkness, you say.
What I Learnt from the Owl
how to hunt in silken plumage
tooled up with talons and hooks
how to split the seam of the night
with saw-tooth wings
how to consume all I kill
yet stay hungry.
What I learnt from the owl
how to haunt sleep
my head – a phantom full moon
how to be outcast and avenger
spectre and seraphim, winged god and ghoul
bladed angel dropping from the sky.
What I learnt from the owl
how to voice my darkness
in hisses, in shrieks
how to drop from the heights,
heart-shaped face falling to earth
as if love itself were plummeting.
A Fire Art
A pyrotechnic prophecy – the fireworks you watched
in the middle of the day,
a foretelling of a combustion to come
a pre-playing, like a dream before sleep.
I imagined what you would have seen –
gold and silver blooms swelling in the sky
gilt-edged peonies, sparkling sea anemones,
glinting orbs opening and closing like mouths,
emitting a roar as they electrified the ether.
Later, in the dark alleys of the city
when the lamplight floods my face like moon glow
you turn to me – and ignite your gunpowder kiss.
Afterwards I remember how I had imagined our explosion
one morning, long before we set fire to the dark –
just if I had set off fireworks in the daytime
as a rehearsal for the main show at night.
After the argument
we pull apart, ripping stitches.
My skin, shredded where the rough thread has torn
is susceptible to further fraying.
The beach is prairied, the marram grass
swarthy like the cack-handed craft
of a clumsy seam smith.
There's a cruel wind,
the lank cuffs of my shirt slap in the gust.
How do any of us,
split as we fall from heaven,
stay whole and airborne?
There's the answer –
in the low horizontal dart of the sparrow hawk
russet buffed bird
straight as a line of machined stitches
sewing the land to the sky.
Poetry Kit Book of the Month
In Feverfew Anna Saunders weaves together personae of myth such as Phaethon, Jupiter, Pan, and Aphrodite with a clear-voiced contemporary disquiet about a planet threatened by human-led climate destruction and passionate, nakedly confessional poems. Surely these white stars will heal? the protagonist of the title poem of Feverfew asks, and the answer is proven to be 'yes' in a sparkling and powerful collection in which poetry acts as magic and medicine.
"Pertinent, nuanced, fiery, fast-paced and exhilarating, these poems possess a complex lyric palette. There is much magic here. A beautiful and necessary collection."
"These are plush and powerful poems."
"Anna Saunders’ poems are all fire, all earth,
all sky; are creaturely; sing vivid, sing passionate, sing barefoot. They are not afraid of the dark - they draw down the moon and drink deep of it. Fever Few is extremely good medicine for whatever might ail you, so kick off your shoes
and wade in."