A Breath of Fresh Air 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 other publications include Eliza’s Babes: four centuries of women’s poetry in English. Robyn was Hampshire Poet 2018-19. She is currently running poetry & story sessions for asylum seekers in Southampton with the Royal Literary Fund and SWVG.





















The windows are open as wide as they can be, yet very little comes inside: a spider

swings down, ousted from her corner; a few seeds settle on the sill. It’s too far for the

wallflowers to waft their deep, sweet scent, or for the bay’s aroma to enter.


In the house, no-one leaves or enters. Air stirs and doors shut abruptly. You do not

move from the window, stand watching the empty road. A rare train sounds its horn

by the river before surging away, as if into a deep breath.


Breathing is becoming something you need to practise. In – up, up. Down and let go,

though no-one can let go yet. You imagine them, in other houses, all holding their

breath. As you lean out of the window, a hawfinch’s song is so high it hurts.


Robyn Bolam




Unsettled by Robyn Bolam

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

A Letter to Gilbert White by Robyn Bolam