138 x 216mm


68 pages


£10.00 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-912876-34-1


PUB: 06/11/2020










Bone House


Kathy Miles

THIRD PLACE Poetry Book Awards 2021




Bān-hūs;  'a charnel house;  the human body'. 'Bone House' explores our physical relationship not only with the earth, but with what lies beneath it; that 'shamble of rubble and forgotten time' where our history and memories are buried.


As we walk the land we learn to read and interpret it, to listen to its sounds, and re-connect with it through music, language and the ancient words and traditions of the past.






Bone House  


Peel back the ground, delve into rich horizons,

the turf a wiry pelt between your fingers.


Underneath, the tree roots' muscle, smooth skulls

of stone where eyes of soil lie hidden in the hollows.


Dig deeper down; learn that a man once carved

a ladle from a fallen oak, forged an arrow carefully


in the flames, or shouldered forests on his back

to form these splintered timbers into home.


Below these contoured meadows is a midden;

a shamble of rubble and forgotten time,


where delicate gills of flesh petal back

into the living body of the earth


and whitening bones of vole and rabbit

shine like scattered stars among the thistle.


In the field, a kindle of hares, dancing

in tangles of sedge and heather.


A murmur of lacewing in brittle reeds,

the skim of wind on water, ruffling the surface


with its sudden gust. And here, too, the scars

of buried weather, marks of old flood etched


on scarp or heath, our memory hefted

by the river's surge as we are winnowed


from our place, drawn to the litany of landscape

and the long slow dissipate of years.





Kathy Miles was born in Liverpool and now lives in West Wales.


Her third poetry collection, 'Gardening with Deer', was published by Cinnamon Press in 2016, and a pamphlet, 'Inside the Animal House', by Rack Press in 2018. Her poetry appears widely in magazines and anthologies, and she is a previous winner of the Second Light, Welsh Poetry and Wells Festival competitions, as well as the Bridport Prize.


A co-editor of 'The Lampeter Review', Kathy is a frequent reader at literary events.


The Bone Merchant


Weekly he came, louche as a sin-eater,

his tongue loose with the scavenge of gossip

and rags. His mare fractious at the harness,

easing herself out of her ancient frame.

At his call, our mothers flocked from doors,

arms full of tattered clothes, the rattle of tin,

chipped pots, a chine of Sunday roast.

He piled these meagre wages on the cart,

clopped off across the cobbles. I imagined him

coming to collect our ribs, patellas,

shoulder-blades, siphoning off our marrow

as we slept. Shaping them to clones of us,

who'd walk round in their borrowed skeletons,

a dream of rag-and-bone men in their eyes.




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