At Hepstonall

For Sylvia Plath

Attempt to strip back to grey
The fiery hues of the day
Trees that try to blow a kiss of life
Into a stone that bears her name.

Each viewpoint rips a shred of muscle
Pains the eyes
To a dripping edge
So much brisker than the city
The silence freezes
In autumn’s stare.

Passing a marker, which buried beneath
Contains so many words
Never misused.

As the damp air invades
The core temperature is flux
Falling colours mark their fade
And the landscape colours in its own demise

For after the harvest
All is barren
Amidst the graves
As all Hallow’s looms

At Hepstonall
Sky too choked to even cry.

Elspeth Vischer


I was walking home with Deborah.
She asked me if it was cold in the UK last winter;
I replied that I’d spent last winter in China
and it was the coldest I’d ever known.

I travelled there through Russia.
Was Russia cold?
Russia was snowing, so it must have been cold.

Yet China had no snow, not when I first arrived.
It was empty and clear and so, so cold,
colder than Russia, definitely.
I knew that instinctively through its lack of snow.

Because, I reasoned, snow breaks the cold.
It gives the cold an outlet to bleed, to ease itself.
Snow softens things, relieves them.

That’s when I realised snow is the sky crying.

Elizabeth Gibson

Last light

Blue mussels shine just like buttons,
each tiny being guarded by rings of
black and white, copper and gold,
each one dotted with a constellation

of tiny stars. Clinging to each other
for support, some catch the light,
some catch the dark. Always they
are a work of art, sitting together

in the dusk, the last sun. The final
scarlet streaks of light they harvest,
echo. They keep nothing. And when
everything is gone they will remain.

Elizabeth Gibson