Goldfinch in Holly by Lizzie Ballagher



A published novelist between 1984 and 1996 in North America, the UK, Australasia, Netherlands and Sweden (pen-name Elizabeth Gibson), Lizzie Ballagher now writes poetry rather than fiction. Her work has been featured in a variety of magazines and webzines: Nine Muses, Nitrogen House, the Ekphrastic Review, South-East Walker Magazine, Far East, and Poetry Space.  

 She lives in southern England, writing a blog at





















Goldfinch in Holly











No winter fire burns in June’s steep holly tree:

berries jolly as rubies in deep December

are now in summer’s richest green.


So far no angels’ cradle-songs swaddle the holly tree:

on the topmost leaves no thorny star

has yet begun to shine.


A spark ignites—coal-black, yellow, scarlet fire:

a goldfinch flares up, lights the holly

and in a trilling, frenzied blaze of song


burnishes the highest leaf-points,

bursts out bright as a supernova

singing new & rolling summer carols.



Lizzie Ballagher


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