Comfort Eating – Sharon Phillips

Comfort Eating

Dark is closing in, brisket simmers
on the hob. She tops it up with stock.

Radio 4 mutters in the living room,
upstairs a door creaks open and shut.

It is the autumn equinox. She finds
an out of date bag of potatoes, looks

for her mother’s old cookery book,
flicks through its pages for comfort:

cuts up potatoes into half moons,
grates cheese, chops garlic, ekes out

leftover cream with a splash of milk,
adds a teaspoon of nutmeg. Warmth

wafts through the kitchen. Perhaps
somebody will phone after supper.

Sharon started writing poetry when she retired from her career in education. Since then, her poems have appeared in print and online journals and anthologies. In 2022 her poem ‘Cut’ came third in the Leeds Poetry Festival competition and another poem, ‘Oh Karen’ was highly commended in the Yaffle poetry competition.

Codename Trellis – Sharon Phillips

Codename Trellis

If it was you: forty-odd, sneered at
for being a spinster, day after day
you care for your mum, your uncle,
your aunt until you can’t breathe
in the two-up two-down terrace

and though you can’t see the bay
from the house, you can hear it,
its restless grey grinding the beach,
its winds that lurch up the streets
and sea frets blocking the sunlight

and at work you’re reliable, careful
how you handle the top-secret plans,
day after day you file them away
and the boss thinks you’re too dim
to know exactly what they are:

if that was your life and someone
offered you money, good money,
and you saw what you’d be able
to do, how you could live — if that
was you, how would you choose?

Sharon lives in Otley, West Yorkshire. Her poems have been published in print and online, most recently in Atrium, Raceme and the Dreich Sci-Fi pamphlet. She is currently working towards a collection inspired by the life and works of the German artist Käthe Kollwitz.

Home – Sharon Phillips


red brick and roses
on a hill’s green shoulder

jam tarts and rice pudding
the gas fire’s stutter

her iron thumping on its board
a whoosh from the cistern

sun on polished pale blue lino
seed trays in the kitchen window

sugared almonds in a cut-glass bowl
pills she hoarded in a cupboard

the sizzle of a Sunday roast
her hand shaking as she smoked

the suitcase she packed
the bus she caught

Sharon lives in Otley, West Yorkshire. Her poems have been published in print and online, most recently in Five Words Vol XIII, About Larkin, Ink Sweat and Tears  and Places of Poetry.

Near Miss – Sharon Phillips

Near Miss
for Marc Bolan

Perhaps that first impact gets shifted
an inch: the Mini scrapes the fence post
and stalls before it can smack the tree;
they get out giggling, stoned or pissed
and he lives to write songs that revive
his career, to sing ‘Heroes’ with Bowie
at Live Aid or even strut a Vegas stage
in silver spandex, his froth of curls dyed
matt black, his pout fossilised by botox.

Or maybe he’s scared enough to strike
a deal with fate: quits booze and drugs,
retires from rock, gives away his cash
—so here he is, slouched in Outpatients,
his head fuzzed white, his face puffy
with steroids, looking up from his book
when the nurse calls out ‘Mr. Bolan!’


Sharon’s poems have been published online and in print, and have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and the WoLF Poetry Competition. Sharon won the Borderlines Poetry Competition in 2017 and was among the winners of the Poetry Society Members’ Competition in November 2018. She lives on the Isle of Portland.

Making space – Sharon Phillips

Making space

When I woke in the night, there was Mum
sat on the edge of my bed.
Shove over, she said, make me some space.

She was all done up to go out,
her face Max Factor fair,
lips slicked vivid coral,
red hair shiny and newly cut.

Put auburn, she said, not red,
or they’ll think I’m ginger.

She was scrawny when we last met,
mouth agape, skin yellow, eyes sunk.

You’re never going to put that, are you?
Cheeky mare, showing me up so much.

Stilettos clacked on the floorboards.
Come and see, she said,
look at the snow.

Snowflakes whirled so giddy fast
I thought I was falling up.

It’s only a dream, my homing pigeon.
Let me see if you’re hot.
Her hand rested on my forehead.

That’s better, she said,
that’s a nicer thing to write.


Sharon’s poems have most recently appeared on Bluepepper, The Open Mouse, Amaryllis and Ink Sweat and Tears. In 2017 she won the Borderlines Poetry Competition with her poem ‘Tales of Doggerland’ and was also shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.