WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

Cover image Goldleaf: a John Atkinson Grimshaw homage     © Saffron Swansborough




138 x 216mm


50 pages


£9.50 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-912876-41-9


PUB: 02/11/2020










The God of Lost Ways


Jane Lovell


Joint Winner

Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize 2020



The God of Lost Ways explores the dark and beautiful sides of nature that exist around us. A meditation on the bones and breath of the natural world and the edges that blur with our intrusion and involvement.




“In view of its technical accomplishment, the assurance of voice, and especially the bold pursuit of difficult themes, it is astonishing to reflect that this is Lovell's first collection.


The language is somehow spare and simple yet dazzlingly original. Lovell has issued a powerful manifesto both for the importance of nature

and for herself as a major poet.”

Mark Cocker  

Author and naturalist  


“These poems are a series of hauntings. Sensory, porous, poignant in its truest sense, their painful, sudden beauty and physicality becomes embodied organically. As Seamus Heaney said, they come at you sideways,

“and catch the heart off guard, and blow it open.”


This is just what poetry should do. Lovell is a great poet, her lines capture all it means to be human, present and in touch with the wild.”

Miriam Darlington

Author of ‘Owl Sense’




The God of Lost Ways


Phantom, mercurial,

he follows cracks in pavements,

the upside curve of bridges,

the outer edge of lamplight,


in your darkest moments

brings you blown trees with shards

of pottery and coins in their roots,

skeletons of fry in the carcass of a fish,

seedpods in rasping spirals.


He is a night-bird folded on the fencepost

counting ten for the mice to run

or a motorway hoverer

hypnotised by the jiggery of voles

in the buffeted grass.


When you are drowning in the enormity

of days,

he offers you sea glass, the shiver

of dune grass, an eel switching

across slipstreams of mud.


He unfurls new leaves

to patch holes in your skies,

linnets and pipits to stitch paths

across your discarded landscapes.


He is that jay's feather in your hand,

the bird's egg of flint, its cracked black seams,


and that greenlip marble you found in landslip

that took you all the way back

to the start.



Erw Wen


In the dim kitchen

your fingers knead and pull the dough,

flour smudges the yellow light

of your cheek and chin.

Poppy seeds escape across the table

disappear onto the tiles.


Red-eyed herring sprawl on the drainer,

flat and finless, silver.

The knife slits, scrapes out strings

and slips of skin;

worm-tangle on quaggy newsprint.


Liquor of fruit broods over must.

Bruised pulp smears the neck

plugged to protect

from the last vinegar flies

fat and desperate with eggs.


Oven hums, yeast creams in a jar.

You measure sugar, boil water.

I kneel to mash the blackberries  

Juice stains my fingers, blackens

my nails,


the sweetness bewildering

against hot bread.

Jane Lovell is an award-winning poet whose work focuses on our relationship with the planet and its wildlife. She has been widely published in journals and anthologies in the UK and US.


She has won the Flambard Prize (2015), the Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize (2020) and has been shortlisted for several other literary awards including the Basil Bunting Prize, the Robert Graves Prize and Periplum Book Award.


Recent publications include 'Metastatic' (ATG Poetry Press), 'One Tree' (Night River Wood), 'Forbidden' (Coast to Coast to Coast) and 'This Tilting Earth' (Seren Books).


Jane also writes for Dark Mountain, Elementum Journal and Photographers Against Wildlife Crime. She lives in Kent and is Writer-in-Residence at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.




Early morning air

slice-cold below total blue

and he’s sitting bold as a stray on the lawn,

tasting the breeze, absorbing every ripple

with those planetary ears.


Time passes only in the shiver of leaves,

a solitary beetle ticking in the sage.


In a heartbeat, he’s away to the skyline,

unzipping the grass and wind-chased verge,

giving us the whole month of May

stretched languorously through centuries,

myrtle, mint and purple betony,

twirling her skirts,

shaking her hair in the wind,


gathering speed as if in huntdown,

as if pinning the lawn with his longbone feet,

bursting through streamers of birdsong,

scattering like confetti the trimmings

of finch and sparrow,

carrying his ears so beautifully,

so beautifully,

all the way to the furthest corner


where he pauses,

resting on his haunches

in the lee of a budding lilac

and breathes,

breathes the whole sky:

invisible worlds,

distant constellations,

pared-down moon.



Orchards, Greensand Way


We meet between converging lines:

branch, twig, leaf, the bulbous fruit,

knuckles of root in ribbled ground


hands that led the plough, that hauled

and dug and cropped, cup and twist,

and gone. Those days like leaves.


Flagged tracks wind in from lanes

conjuring the old ways, trundle and scrape

of wheels through ghosts of trees.


The sun is brighter now, a black macramé

of tubes irrigates the lines; tractors grind

through vineyards on the south slopes.


We spot fox trails, vertical earth below

skylit hedges; from the ridge, every shade

of green laid out across the Weald, sweeping


to the mauve horizon of a wide unhurried sky.

Windfalls scatter the path: Cox’s and crabs,

in the hedges, late bramble, damson,


each bite of fruit surprising in its freshness,

its poignancy.


9781912876419 IMG_1127 3mm amend