Pi Day

Unnumbered maladies his joints invade,
 Lay siege to life, and press the dire blockade.

Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784.

And the bible says man that is born of woman
hath three score years & ten
here in for him there was the only truth

Today earth turns & a chair is vacant
that body all angles & shapes
at last an arabesque

or black swan wings thrumming over a lake
where heron poised on one leg
waits for bright koi

Sir that you strived to weave astral joy
on our eyelids
we wear black rimmed spectacles

& Press stud frail lives like sprays of pale blue Meconopsis
to dark lapels   you are your own cosmos
tyres sparking across gumboots


I.M  Stephen Hawking

©Natalia Spencer 2018


East Aleppo May 1st 2017

Outside a pock marked Souk

At The Mosque of The Mulberry Tree

rose & jasmine rise from rubble

War has not changed its perfume


‘we have fallen from a great height

but at this time stones were meant

to be destroyed

Aleppo will be Aleppo, forever’


In bright spears of yellow weeds

amid quiet chatter there is value

food for an empty mouth

if bombing had carried on


‘I knew I would live. I was full of hope

When you have girls,

you have everything

in life. You are rich.’


And great love is a ghost story

of a Roman eagle caged in this old square

Abu & friends sit on broken chairs

And snow will come again


©Natalia Spencer 2017


Journalist Ruth Mclean’s  original piece appears here


Found in a Drawer

We hear them on a film roll
a message which is not a telegram

Soldier you speak of having fun
There’s a twang in that honeyed Yorkshire accent

Although I have never met you          & never will
I want to blow a child of The Somme                        a kiss

You never knew your real father        a man
who could have been     & was not

Somewhere out there at the lip of a crater
a hipbone curves         like a smile at the sky

Easy to be pragmatic while I walk my dog
Calm cerulean blue overhead

Only cross hatch fluffy Chem trails
appear to lock us in

And it’s been so long since Albert’s Golden Virgin
tried to leap from The Basilica as if

she wanted to topple into their arms
As if she wanted to print herself        into bone marrow

Into nothing…

I’m too young to know what this really means
you both died  and we bring you back

a mute pastiche dragged through stations
the notice board says  Severe Delays
©Natalia Spencer 2016


We Dined At The Restaurant

you worked at to fund your grant
I combed your hair towards my ribs
the opposite way to where you were going

You spoke of Akil—he who uses reason
a new star        pinned to your lapel

the red diyas do little to mask
the blaze I’ve seen before

When you stepped off the runway
you could have been anybody

Some hours later it’s the first time words
sound like hiccups.

He tells me the down draught wrenched
your weekend rucksack          from his arms

& I picture that ochre imperfect
corona             meant for him              on a china cup

© Natalia Spencer 23.03.2016
Cover Image Rights Sean Gallup/Getty



Not One I Want To Write But Know I Should

Tomorrow the day when florists deliver bouquets
yours absent of lilies your mother’s flower
She the determined woman      who parcelled
a three pound child in brown paper      & was gone
before end of your first year

Your father never bought a headstone     & I often
wonder why stiff blooms have power to poison
family after pollen falls           They blamed you
rather than focus on real cause or accept
just how much you were wanted

Years on I meet a woman with those same dark eyes
fierce & wild as you are. The photograph of her
in her new mother’s arms mirrors that sepia shot
Ann out on the back step        sleeves rolled up like a mother
who salvages a birdcage from a charred room

& I cannot       bring myself to order flowers
which eventually droop & lick            silent walls
Because in your last age of breath & spit
all the gentle words I must say           should be seen
not gushed      as panaceas      across a writer’s desk

©Natalia Spencer 2016

Cover image ©Marie Elkins 2012