Tuesday 5 April 2022

Six Poems by Kirsty Niven



There’s the tree, but lacking its house,
where we were years ago –
creeping up its branches
in plimsolls and pinafores.

The garden where I felt my first nettle sting,
where I later cried about so much worse
and you comforted me.

Ivy strangles its branches now,
snaking up every inch of its trunk.
Its bark petrified to stone and stillness –
deadened to a husk
barely surviving.

A statue to remember you by.


Earthly Delights

A spy in the garden of love –
all need for covertness forgotten
with a dark twinkle and a smirk.
I sink back onto a bed of nails,
evening dew on every grassy blade.

You fall back with me, grinning,
the chance finally worth taking –
forbidden or not, you know I’m yours.
Stockings peel away like petals,
sighs floating off like dandelion seeds.

We’re the only two people in the universe.
You bite into the apple at last.



All winter break I was waiting
for some feeling to hit.
I wasn’t quite numb,
simply nonplussed.
In the warmth of the pub,
in a rush I felt it –
a defrosting sensation
as feeling returned
with a blue-eyed bang,
an inebriated burst of fireworks.
Icicles inside liquidating,
all sharpness softening
at the slightest of touches.
All frozen frigidity forgotten
in this cosmic collision.


Soft Boiled

A fissure in the shell:
the moist membrane glistens.
A tear threatening to leak,
a delicate ooze quivering.
Make no sudden movements.

Insides ready to gush out –
utterly disgusting and vulnerable.


How To Poet

After ‘The Messenger’ by Mary Oliver

Poetry is meant to be loving the world.
Marvel at the roses, sigh at the robin –
delight in the tedious sunlight.
Watch the whirling waves that wait,
note the wavering of the distant horizon.

My eyes see only shades of grey,
the fault lines cutting into everything.
The black mould spreading its spots,
breathing it spores into nihilist lungs;
dripping its ink onto every white page.

My work is despising the world.
See the destruction, feel the depression –
tearing out every heart string.
All prey will find its predator,
my words worms in a bird’s beak.

I can only see the ugliness in it all –
the thorn that will prick, the wintery death,
the sunburn that will peel in crispy sheets.
The waves that crave to fill my lungs,
the horizon that wishes to swallow me whole.



In the silence of your absence,
my mind unlocks, a swinging hinge –
something’s always wrong,
a gnawing kind of pestilence.

Your forgotten things punctuate,
dotted all over my bedroom floor
patching together the spaces between.
Bracing hope, a mess of medication.

The anticipation of you is anaesthetic,
the actuality the fiercest adrenaline.
A lifeline I can’t afford to lean on
but there’s no living without it.

Kirsty Niven lives and writes in Dundee, Scotland. Her writing has been published in several anthologies including POETRY in the time of CORONAVIRUS, Love Notes You’ll Never Read and Moving Images: Poetry Inspired by Film. Kirsty’s poetry has also appeared in numerous journals and magazines, like Monstrous Regiment, Honeyfire Literary Magazine, HU Writes and The Bangor Literary Journal. You can also find her work on websites such as The Literary Nest, Constellate Literary Journal and Synchronized Chaos. Kirsty has also contributed to We For Women’s upcoming ‘Whose Body Is It?’ exhibition, raising funds for Glasgow Women’s Aid.


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