Saddleworth, 2018 – Kate Noakes

Saddleworth, 2018

Top story from the can’t/won’t remember moor –
fire tinders the heather in its dry mouth

and a boy sleeps in the dark. Not talking
to strangers, could have been, but wasn’t.

I have some sweets for you.

In its purple oven, fire dries wimberries
as bracken crackles, and the boy sleeps on.

I’ll give you a lift.

Fire licks the roots of flax, desiccates sundews
and hides in the decades of peat where he sleeps,

secretly turning him into chips of bone
and the ash that does not blow away.


Kate Noakes’ most recent collection is The Filthy Quiet, Parthian, 2019. She lives in London where she acts as a trustee for literature development charity Spread the Word. An elected member of the Welsh Academy of Letters, her website,,  is archived by the National Library of Wales.