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Zoe Mitchell is a widely-published poet whose work has been featured in many magazines including The Rialto, The London Magazine and The Moth.

 

She graduated from the University of Chichester with an MA in Creative Writing and was awarded a Distinction and the Kate Betts Memorial Prize.

 

She is currently  studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, examining witches in women’s poetry.

 

Hag was a joint winner of the Indigo-First Collection competition.

 

 

Poetry

 

138 x 216mm

 

54 pages

 

£8.99 + P&P UK

 

ISBN 978-1-912876-05-1

 

PUB: 08/04/2019

 

 

ORDER HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hag

 

Zoe Mitchell

 

 

The poems in Hag address the ongoing search

for magic in the modern world. Using ancient history

and mythology as well as the inspiration provided

by a wild landscape, the poems consider how to

live and endure in an increasingly complex and challenging world. From uncertain heroes and heartbroken heroines to vengeful and lovelorn goddesses,

 

Hag considers the human cost of history and how each individual must carry the weight of their own experience.

 

 

Hag

 

Wicked or wise, at my root

is nothing but joy

but no one wants you to know that.

 

There’s no profit in me.

I could only beg for the things

I’m meant to want

but no one can make me want them.

 

I feel so old and not from the sorrow

on my shoulders:

it is the silence behind.

 

Strange new gods are being born

and not from the mess I make

or the strange scents

that emanate from my quarters.

 

Through the smoke

and my eyes’ smeared windows

I see everything

 

and mutter as I pull who-knows-what

from my hair,

smiling my crooked smile.

 

I am kept at a distance

to stop my song reaching your ears.

 

Wake up from your dream and run.

 

The future may be crouched, waiting

to eat out your heart

but it must catch you first.

 

 

 

Blood Curse

 

Sing, red-hearted women! Circle the black

cauldron while curses fill the moon, seduce

the sun; let it rest sweating in your sheets.

 

Bind the magic with waterfall tresses,

cast a spell with herbs to take out the fat –

all that’s messy can be turned to beauty.

 

And remember: to bleed is not to die.

You burst through from blood and must live

in it. Dance now with your coming daughters.

 

 

 

Slant

 

In my home, a pane of glass

has been lain at a deliberate

diagonal in the gable-end wall.

 

It looks crooked, but nestled

in that narrow space, this glazed

mystery admits illumination.

 

The skylight airs out our house,

slotted with care into a place

with no other use than darkness.

 

So say the architects and yet,

there is another explanation

for what some call a witch window.

 

In another time, they say, when

a woman told a man she could fly,

he would believe her.

Everything He Left Behind

 

I am queen of every dark corridor

he ran through. I walk my feet on the streets

he paved, cloak myself in words he never

should have said, live here in his edifice.

 

Turn back the stars. Unfasten all vengeance

and march it like an elephant across

impossible Alps. Trample his labours

in the black mud of all my kiss-soured curses.

 

I spit fire on every shred of his work.

Rest my bruise of a body in the flames

until all the things he never meant to do

drift on saffron wings towards a heaven.

 

 

 

Dook

 

It was a beautiful day –

clear as the cold river that admitted my body,

a whisper of ripples and sunlight soft

as the hush of the crowd that had bound me.

 

In that moment, I wished

to be smooth and flat like a pebble.

 

I could have skipped over the surface

and landed on the far, damp bank

but the water knew I was a woman

from the round swell of my hips,

the curve of my breasts,

my whole body pregnant as a full moon.

 

My lacustrine sisters and I all sank

with our eyes open –

the riverbed is not a place of rest.

 

Women made water gather

from dark ponds and pell-holes and grimmers;

we loom in rock pools,

jabble a torrent of curses.

 

Clouds caper in the sky and we call them

our unborn children.

A glut of rain weeps

with our polluted heirs like a vengeance.

 

Then, out of the blue, an after drop –

a beautiful new day.

 

 

 

Scrying

 

Looking into this bottomless black reflection,

I glimpse the face of my father; unmistakeable

as death and yet etched with kindness.

 

Something in my eyes betrays me, it is

the expectation of my mother, disappointed

in that quiet way that deafens the senses.

 

I catch the unthinking cruelty of one sister,

the sharp-edged sparkling hope of another

and can’t distinguish past from future.

 

Something else is held in this mirror.

There, half in shadow, I see the daughter

I’ll never have, playing with a lost son.

 

 

 

The Scarlet Mark

 

Though I may close my carmine lashes

to forget, you will keep reminding me

that I was born aflame and lean to burning.

 

You see cherries blossoming sour

between my legs as I rewrite beauty

with these dissembling ruby ropes.

 

Crimson fingers coil around my throat,

blood-raw ribbons weave down the white

skin of my back and never fade.

9781912876051 ZoeMitchell amend sized

JOINT WINNER

INDIGO-FIRST COLLECTION COMPETITION 2018