Two poems by Deborah Alma

Morning Song

An open-windowed church-belled morning
chimes of loss and mine; water pipes sing,

and I bring back to bed a blue enamel
pot of hot coffee, as silk as the slide

of skin on sheets, and rough hot bread
warmed in an oven kept in overnight

and bite into a grape and lazy eyed
the women I have been no longer fight their corners;

cocks-crow, black throats thrown back with old songs,
flown back to all of these edges of me,

they stay and stare, these women, across the hazy
sun-strewn wooden floor of my dreams

and my ageing; the mirror crazed
and hung with beads, the pink and the red

and the purple of the stocks I have grown
and the white of the daisies.


i.m Jo Cox

Three chickens died this week.
They sat in the unexpected heat panting
and in the morning there was just one
white bird, bewildered, stepping over
their bodies, following the dog.

In the news, a woman died
and for days the rain,
so that the roses rotted in the bud

and there seemed, in all this time
of high summer and scent,
of hollyhocks and hedge-clippings,
that I had had enough

and finding black feathers
floating on the pond
was too much.

(a version of this poem was first published in The Fat Damsel, 2017)

Deborah Alma is Honorary Research fellow at Keele University. She has worked using poetry with people with dementia, in hospice care & with vulnerable groups. She is also the Emergency Poet prescribing poetry from her vintage ambulance. She is editor of Emergency Poet- an anti-stress poetry anthology and The Everyday Poet- Poems to live by (Michael O’Mara Books) and #MeToo, Fair Acre Press. A pamphlet True Tales of the Countryside is published by The Emma Press and a full collection Dirty Laundry is published by Nine Arches Press.