Off site: publication news

2009_08_11_4601OzMRBlackKiteTwo of my poems, one of which has previously appeared on my blog and a Previously Unseen Poem about wings, have been published in the 4th Paper Swans iPamphlet, out today! You can download this excellent magazine for free here. Issue 4 is at the bottom – but why limit yourself? The back issues are full of interesting and inspiring poetry and flash fiction too.

While I’m being a Paper Swans fan girl, one of my poems also appears in their National Poetry Day slide show.


Birth Nostalgia

My son was in hospital for a few nights recently. It was the same hospital where I had both the kids and I found myself feeling curiously nostalgic, especially as my daughter’s 2nd birthday was imminent.

Fond Memories of Pain

It was horrendous
And the pain overwhelming
And I thought many times:
Does the gain really weigh up
Against this agony?

Then why do I feel nostalgia
As I squeak along the floor of this corridor?
This corner, this lift,
Where I was doubled over lowing
Like a cow as you pushed lower
To make a swift entrance into the here and now.

The sign that says “Delivery Suite”
Fills me with a warm sweet glow
Of love and remembered love:
This is where you meet a whole new person
Who is you and him but not you or him at all.

Who cares about pain when after all
That straining and pushing and the swearing,
The blame: “Never touch me again!”
You get to hold that feather-weight
And watch a soul unfold?

She meets the sea

She meets the sea

The creeping fingers of a nearly-spent wave
advance on your tiny frame.
Digging your toes into the sand,
you stand breathless
as the spray splashes up
into your beaming face.
We drift left with the waves,
foam floats on your tidal bath-
You are fearless
A glob of snot hangs from your nose,
but there is no time for tissues
when the sea is towering and crashing,
soaking you to the skin.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2014

Not so secret racism

Sometimes certain political parties dare to darken my door with election leaflets. This is what I would say to them if I wasn’t afraid they’d come back later with more friends/big dogs/guns.


I am still different


My form may conform
to the local norm
as I open the door to your leaflets
that spew forth your bile
against others and strangers,
that warn of the dangers
of letting us in.
I know that within
I’m what you think is so vile
so I smile.

You see,

With malicious glee
I do all those things you’d expect from me.

I take your jobs
and I live in your houses
I sit in your queue for your A&E
I use your library,
Take up space on your bus
I even vote for my local MP

I say “We”.

I watch your news

I stand in your queues
My car appears in your Google Street Views.

I’m using your water
I’m breathing your air
Flush my wee through your sewers
Your pipes are clogged with my hair

best of all:

I made children
bilingual half breeds
growing like weeds
spreading my seeds
my foreign ideas
shooting roots over years
until decades from now
you will look around
and find Britain has changed
is no longer the same
because I changed my name
and staked a claim
on your country, your land.

I’m sure you’ll understand
I’m sure you’ll forgive
You’ll live and let live
Because you don’t need to fight
someone like me, you’d say –
I am okay, I can stay:

I am white.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2014


You can hear me read this at Stephanie Arsoska’s Virtual Open Mic Night.


2013_07_01_H13786FR_AixLesBains_BladI wrote a poem as a tribute to all the wonderful writers that I have got to know over the past few years.




We stretch out a hand
and leaves turn
reluctant or relieved
to show the shadow-side
of the statue hewn
polished and displayed
for eyes other than our own.

It is no surprise.

What propels us to
page after page
of verse or prose
rhyme, metre, blank,
with plot or not
but a violent reflex
to puke up our pain?

Inside it lurks and eats
until we waste away
but here held in my hand
it is less than nothing
that thing I shape, control,
fashion into ugly,
beautiful, crafted life.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2014



Mother and child and mother times infinity

At Stephanie Arsoska’s most recent Virtual Open Mic Night we were tasked with reading a published poem and one of our own, without saying which was which. There was to be some link in theme or style between the poems, or you could even try to copy or emulate the published poem’s style. The others would listen and guess. I was rumbled straight off, of course, but I challenge you to listen to Sarah Miles read her two poems and pick which one is hers and which one is by a certain famous poet. Go on, have a go.

Meanwhile, here is what I read.


Ad infinitum

My joints click your click
My feet step your tread,
In my ring I hear yours ting
against your cup.
My toothbrush-tap is your spoon
playing a tune
on the rim of your mug.
“And now I tap!”
His toothbrush joins a line
that spans life, space and time.

Your irritations are now mine
I tell myself the self-same lies
Hiding behind the same disguise
So too I echo in his whine
Grating on both our nerves
As time rewinds, loops and curves.

Here I stand
And reprimand
Dizzy with a skewed
I see
versions of me
looking both up
and down at me.
You are in my words,
I speak you at my child,
and understand
where you stand
and stood.
The ought and should
now echo over years
and all the tears,
the fears, the growing pains
and vomit stains
on this point
where I stand
and understand
both child and mother
in my hand.

(c) Judith Kingston, 2014


The published poem I chose is by one of my favourite, but relatively unknown poets here in the UK: Gwen Harwood. I can recommend both her poetry and her laugh-out-loud funny correspondence with her friend Tony Riddell from the days when she worked in a hilarious bureaucratic job in Brisbane, Australia, during the Second World War. These letters were published under the title Blessed CitySo, here she is:

In the Park

She sits in the park. Her clothes are out of date.
Two children whine and bicker, tug her skirt.
A third draws aimless patterns in the dirt.
Someone she loved once passes by – too late

to feign indifference to that casual nod.
“How nice,” et cetera. “Time holds great surprises.”
From his neat head unquestionably rises
a small balloon… “but for the grace of God…”

They stand awhile in flickering light, rehearsing
the children’s names and birthdays. “It’s so sweet
to hear their chatter, watch them grow and thrive,”
she says to his departing smile. Then, nursing
the youngest child, sits staring at her feet.
To the wind she says, “They have eaten me alive.”

(c) Gwen Harwood


Why not join in the next Virtual Open Mic Night? It will be on Wednesday 25th of June and it is going to be a Newbie Night! Why not give it a go? You know you want to. Keep an eye on Stephanie’s blog for further details nearer the time.