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Abegail Morley

Updated: Fri, 15 Apr 2016 02:26 pm

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Abegail Morley's fourth collection, The Skin Diary is published by Nine Arches. Her debut collection How to Pour Madness into a Teacup (Cinnamon 2009) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection (2010). Snow Child, and Eva and George: Sketches in Pen and Brush are published by Pindrop Press. The Memory of Water is an Indigo Dreams Pamphlet. She is a co-founder of EKPHRASIS alongside Catherine Smith and Emer Gillespie and this year worked with The British Library commissioning poets for the Alice in Wonderland exhibition. She is co-founder of The Poetry Shelf: revised edition pop-up poetry gigs and was Canterbury Poet of the Year 2015. She blogs at The Poetry Shed:


Before you write-off your imaginary sister remember how she didn’t take her blunt playschool scissors to your Tiny Tears doll, didn’t lop off a curl, how it didn’t make you cry for three nights in a row, your only consolation, not inviting a mantra to your lips: You are not my sister, you are not my sister. Think of that night she wasn’t at the tap-end of the bath, not blowing bubbles through her fingers, not sloshing them over your face, how the water didn’t slop over the bath’s rim, and how you didn’t slip when your mother hugged you out in a towel. Memorise how she didn’t cuddle close for those stories, clap when they escaped the Gingerbread House. Learn how she didn’t travel with you on the school bus, wasn’t there when you rubbed your fingers over the invisible bruise that couldn’t yellow on your thigh, wasn’t bashed by her bag. Before you know it, she’s not at your wedding, taking the posy from your nervous hands, doesn’t smile when she doesn’t do it. Bear in mind she didn’t have that look in her eyes when she didn’t hold your son in her arms in amazement. Learn by heart those miles she couldn’t take because you couldn’t call her at two am thinking he might die from colic. Remember how she doesn’t say, she loves you more now than ever, and how desperate that cannot make you feel. And know now all you can say is, I miss you, I miss you. Winner of the Cinnamon Prize 2013 Family Album On the scan you are tiny – a whiteness in a dark sky. Your breath steams in patches, ghost white strokes on the photograph. (I want to step into the picture to see what happens. I want to go between the blackness and the clouds). You stitched yourself to me with fisherman’s nylon, sharp needles where your nails should have been. But even in my warm belly you were unformed. When your breath left, your eyes were still closed. You would not have seen a thing. I turn the page – nobody moved, nobody smiled. (I want to pull the dark over me and find you there: you at two, at five, at twelve). My tongue wraps itself around you, grows limp when I speak your name. There is urgency in my loss. I want to unwrap it, to see it, to release it. My body yearns for you at night. It cries. At the end of the darkness is the thread of my child. I carry the weight of the dead. (I want to place my hands around your face, my fingers stretching as you smile. My child). The Frogmore Papers, issue 77 How to Pour Madness into a Teacup She hangs her tears at the front of the house cuts the rain in half and puts time in the hot black kettle. She sits in the kitchen reading the teacup full of small dark tears; it’s foretold the man in the wood hovers in the dark rain above the winding path. The man is talking to her in moons, she is laughing to hide her tears and with little time, she secretly plants the moons in the dark brown bed. She shivers, thinks the man is watching as the jokes of the child dance on the roof of the house. Tidying, she carefully puts hot rain in the teacup, sings as she hangs her tears on a string and watching the dance, thinks herself mad.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

Blog entries by Abegail Morley

Shot (18/09/2012)

Hoad Hill (03/06/2012)

Room (26/05/2012)

Circumnavigate (21/05/2012)

I learn this from him (27/04/2012)

Yellow Trousers (29/03/2012)

Snow Child (16/03/2012)

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Big Sal

Tue 10th Apr 2018 23:51

"How to Pour Madness into a Teacup" is very well-written.

<Deleted User> (11485)

Sat 28th Sep 2013 15:04

Enjoyed this very much.

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Sun 18th Mar 2012 20:16

Belated welcome to WOL Abegail - and thanks for your congratulations :)x

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Andy N

Sat 17th Mar 2012 10:05

nice pieces Abegail - enjoyed both - good to see you are blogging x

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Ann Foxglove

Fri 6th Aug 2010 09:50

Hi Abegail - welcome to WOL. I love your sample poem. I must look up your other work!

<Deleted User> (7075)

Tue 3rd Aug 2010 22:08

Hi Abegail, Welcome to WOL. Hope you enjoy the site and its wide range of members and their work, Winston

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