WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

Chrissy Banks lives and writes in Exeter. She previously worked as a psychodynamic counsellor and trainer.


Her poems have been published widely in anthologies and journals.


Chrissy’s first pamphlet was ‘Watching the Home Movies’ (Odyssey) and she also has a full collection, ‘Days of Fire and Flood’ (original plus).


She won second prize in the inaugural Wordsworth Trust Single Poem Competition in 2017.




138 x 216mm


70 pages


£9.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-912876-13-6


PUB: 19/08/2019










The Uninvited


Chrissy Banks



‘What lives in shadow is always seeking a gap.’ In this collection, the unexpected enters in various forms, welcome or unwelcome. With psychological acuteness Banks’s searching, poignant poems unsettle, provoke and amuse. What is ‘uninvited’ changes the poet and her various subjects through experiences of conflict, joy and grief.  Love, loss and a search for identity and meaning are attendant themes, while resolution comes through understanding and acceptance.



“These are remarkable poems, unshowy but compelling, powered by wry perceptiveness yoked to generosity of spirit; here are Manx childhood memories, loves early and late, celebrations and self-doubt, quizzical travelling in a world where ‘each of us guards/at least one  colour/no-one else can see’ – a lifetime’s beguiling narratives.”

Alastair Paterson


“Skilled and articulate, raw but never straining for effect, empathetic  but never sentimental – each story is simply allowed to unfold itself  in its own unique and apparently inevitable way.

‘The Uninvited’ is a grippingly  ‘moreish’ book.”  

Sue Boyle


The Uninvited


We flew to a country of golden temples,

golden Buddhas six times as tall as a man.

But now, here’s what I think about most:


Garden lodge. Petal-strewn bed. Bowl of fruit

on a table. Banana skin partially stripped, flesh

well chomped, not by us. Too munched for a mouse.


I ransacked cupboards, peered under chairs.

Searched for a hole, a gap, a crack big enough.

Had I left a window open, a door unlatched?


Someone delivered a metal cage, banana-baited.

At first, not a squeak. Then I woke to a maniac

rattling of bars. The thing and I stared at each other.


Fingery claws, breathing fur. The naked flex

of its tail; those eyes, onyx-black. I could just about watch

as it shivered there in the cage. But when it was gone,  


it was still here. In a sealed wooden house.

Me and the creature: all one, according to Buddha.

What lives in shadow is always seeking a gap.




The Horrible Haircuts of Childhood


I remember the horrible haircuts:

trapped in the chair, tied up in a nylon gown,

condemned to watching it happen, mute,

full-face in the mirror. Like viewing your own

execution, while the Serial Hair Killer witters

about holidays, shopping, school, the weather,

pretending there’s no ritual sacrifice going on

as she shreds you with eager scissors.


My hair was never that long in the first place

and the short, blunt cut was always wrong,

the way a pair of curtains, hung,

but chopped in half, are wrong. My face,

stripped naked, too plainly showed I longed

to die quickly, all hiding places gone.




Rio, Summer 2014


High on the giant hunchback of the Corcovado,

Christ is a small white cross,

luminous at night.


Even the least religious football fan is touched

by the way he watches over Rio,

arms outstretched.


He’s huge up close with soapstone robes, the long

hands of an artist. Lightning

has broken off one finger.


There’s a man lying on the ground full stretch,

tubular lens aimed straight up

the Redeemer’s nostrils.


A Chinese girl pouts, seducing herself with an iphone.

Everyone smiles, arms spread,

for a selfie with Jesus.


Three musicians explode into samba songs

on the packed down-tram. North,

south, we’re all on a high


and a young football supporter from Devon

is wooing an old, gap-toothed Brazilian.

He’s down on one knee,


the woman shaking with laughter so that

her belly rocks. Her tee shirt says in English,

Everything in life is for loving.





Washing the Buddha


In heat, wind, downpour, knee-high snow,

he sat on.


When kids pelted his head with soil and stones,

he sat on.


Juddering in the removal van’s closed dark,  

and rehoused


in the seeping corner where midges dance at dusk,

he sat on.


I wander unfamiliar paths, turn and turn again,

while he sits on.


And when I scrub the mildewed spots from his

crossed legs,


he sits on. Patiently he sits, as I scrape away

the yellow moss


and bathe his crown, face, chest, his mottled

arms and back.


I tip him sideways, backwards, upside down.

Gently though,


and when the green scum froths, I sluice it off

till he is clean again.


And then we sit together, me and Buddha.

We sit on.




The Sex Life of Paper Clips


He drew my attention to paper clips,

their furtive encounters, their magic tricks.

How does inanimate stuff like this

secretly manage to shift and hitch?


Necklaces left in a fastened box

end up coiled in unravellable knots

in a ménage à trois with a silver cross

and dangly earrings or bracelet watch.


I’m starting to notice it everywhere:

the toothy kiss of some forks ensnared,  

post-tumble tights and a sweater, the pair

in a Velcro clinch on a bedroom chair.


But if it’s a crackle of static that smacks

us together, what holds over time is the mass

of poppers and studs, the clasp and the catch.

A hook pulls away and an eye pulls back.




The Touch


and you came so softly

into the room where I sat

in my reverie

stepping behind me so gently

I didn’t know you were there

till your touch on my shoulder

light as a leaf settling


floating up out of my dream

I didn't know who

our son in Australia

my mother long gone

or a much younger you

who would find me like this

with a touch


hardly daring to

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