Messages by Robyn Bolam



Robyn Bolam has published four 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 2017. Widely anthologised, her other publications include Eliza’s Babes: four centuries of women’s poetry in English. Robyn was Hampshire Poet 2018-19. In 2022 she ran poetry & story sessions for asylum seekers in Southampton with the Royal Literary Fund and SWVG. She is now completing a new poetry collection.























All lands, all people, all creatures

are connected by their needs.










Across continents and seas,

past skies stinking with gunfire –

where blue clears over snow peaks

and wild lupins start to spire,

a kiwi sleeps in his burrow.


Awake, his long beak taps

its way in the dark, plunges

to the hilt for wriggling prey.

Territory wars are not for him.

Shrill boundary cries deter

whistle-screech opponents.

Claws are kept to defend –

to fight extinction.


No rain for us since the end of June.

A heron neck-zags across the estuary

to stand like a living statue.

A lapwing quicksteps – in starts –

over mud and kelp, hardly pausing

to pick and dip in shallow pools

traced with waste

and the late-summer sun.


It’s 26 degrees at midnight here.

Only darkness covers me

and that’s too heavy. I dream

in a house of silenced taps

where spiders sleep.


Dead for forty-six years,

my father is walking on a battlefield,

a desert that was our planet, his arms

wide open under a bird-less, stubborn sky,

as the sun rises before I’m ready.


This is a journey he didn’t want

to make, a preternatural effort,

to tell me it’s time

to understand

each other’s messages.



Robyn Bolam




A Breath of Fresh Air by 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