Walking with Mary Shelley 3. – Louise Warren

Walking with Mary Shelley

Mary is stitched into the middle of me-
as she was stitched into my mother
pulling the pieces of us together pinch tight
we try to squeeze to death the quiet version of ourselves.

Blue silk, forget-me-not, chiffon sky
we unpick her with our nails
as we worry, we fret, we unravel her
with our magenta, our hollyhock, our fogs.

Our deep depressions, our electric storms,
our blackest ink. Mary says-
we are not all content to lie between others,
I am narrative, scrawled in graphite,

little matted furs.
Wetness, hair, birth blood, breast milk,
life, death, silver clasped.


Louise Warren’s first collection ‘A Child’s Last Picture Book of the Zoo’ won the Cinnamon Press Debut Prize (2012). ‘In the scullery with John Keats’ also published by Cinnamon Press  (2016.) Her latest pamphlet ‘John Dust’  published by V.Press in 2019.

Running Deer – Louise Warren

Running Deer

Under the trees they cluster, a small tight group,
nervy, pacing, half in shadow,
waiting for me to make a move.

I say be still. I watch the shadows drift, the mist,
their bodies flecked with soft brown leaves, be still,
but I can see them twitch,

a dark and startled eye, a tail begin to flick.
Their blood is hot, their hooves begin
to stamp a pulse inside my head.

They stamp, the cluster moves as one, sweating, tensed,
ready to spring. I try to soothe them back
too late, one leaps away

now here they come. Running and running,
their hooves a thundering beat around around
the bone hard floor.

All I can do is hide, crouch down, cover my face,
but I can feel their animal breath, chaos runs
with the deer, suffers, won’t be eased

until the wood is smashed to bits, I wait,
dazed, emptied out, I watch them vanish
they are delicate and terrible in the half light.


Louise Warren – ‘A Child’s Last Picture Book of the Zoo’ (2012) and ‘In the scullery with John Keats’(2016) both published by Cinnamon Press. Winner of the Prole Laureate Poetry Competition 2018. Her next pamphlet ‘John Dust’ will be published by V.Press in 2019.

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