Unsettled by Robyn Bolam



Robyn Bolam has published four poetry collections with Bloodaxe. New Wings was a PBS Recommendation and Hyem, which includes eco-poems with settings from the New Forest to New Zealand, appeared in October 2017. Widely anthologised, her work is included in Land of Three Rivers (Bloodaxe, 2017) and other publications include Eliza’s Babes: four centuries of women’s poetry in English. She was Hampshire Poet 2018 and, in 2016-17, led the combined-arts Ferry Tales project on the Solent.

























The houses in front of my garden are up to their gutters in mounds of topsoil –

an optical illusion: lights glow behind drawn blinds. And, out of the soil,

another new house is growing. It was flat as foundations, then a glimpse of brick.

Now its lower storey is bolting. Every night I come home to a different view.


Oak trees, roofs, an obscured church, and the street light that shines on my shed,

making it look as if someone is living inside, move closer together in the dusk.

Rats that fled the field when it was cleared, have tunnelled under next-door’s fence.

A field vole, popped up from his newly-dug hole, freezes when our eyes meet.


The fox that thumped my wall in the night to plunder a birds’ nest, is trotting

down the twittens with empty jaws. Blackbirds cease hopping; starlings

fall silent; pigeons squeeze together in the crook of a bough – then,

larger than you’d expect, two deer appear through dark rain. They leap.



Robyn Bolam



Starving after long rain, the barn owl hunts again by Robyn Bolam