Lenni – Gill McEvoy

She had no truck with softies –
you swam the river. Or not.

And, if not, endured
her silent scorn.

You went to the forest,
for bilberries. Or not.
Mosquitoes? Pah!
Lenni had no time for them.

Nor they for her – but you,
that was different.

When your bitten ankle
swelled and swelled

Lenni lathered it
with lead-water, didn’t care

if lead were poisonous
or not.

She brought you
to the deepest, coldest lake

and when you wouldn’t jump
she pushed you in.

Ah, Lenni, Lenni,
carving the cold lake water

with her long, strong arms,
marching to the forest

baskets swinging from her hands –
You coming? No? Pah!

And Pah! again.


Gill lives in Devon; member of the Totnes Company of Poets; Hawthornden Fellow; winner of the 2015 Michael Marks Award for “The First Telling” Happenstance Press.

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