Rabbit on a roadside verge
A nose. Nudging through
the ‘Yorkshire Fog’ grass.
Its twitch sucks in trails
sucks in trails, draws
them to nerves.
On into cortex.
In the two-way traffic
of acting, reaction
a message returns.
As safe as you’ll know.
A stepping out.
Nose always twitching.
A tentative approach.
Her ears a-quiver.
Her hind legs slow.
Head down for a moment.
Then blackbird alarm
ear-piercing the traffic.
Brain knows to tell legs
to sit still, sit still
while leg muscles tighten.
Ears twisting to listen.
Eyes searching, eyes searching.
Nose always twitching.
Her mind races home
to her eight blind babies
in the nest of her fur.
by Nadia Kingsley: Her poems have been published in Orbis, Brand, Wenlock Poetry Festival Anthology 2011 and 2012, and 2014, Poetry Cornwall, and she has won prizes for her short stories and poetry. She performed at “Ones to Watch” event at Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014, curated by Jacob Sam-La Rose. Her brick sculpture, photography and textile art have been exhibited in Birmingham, London and Brighton.
Three of them on the road down
Bundled between the kerb and the hedgerow
Like old clothes tied in a bag and thrown out.
Secret stealers of the night
Come to grief in the shock
And smack of the headlights
And each one a nail driven flush into my head.
It takes me like that
Though I can’t explain the sense of loss
Except as a kind of yearning after
A longing that drags me out after dark
Down on hands and knees
For an eye to gaze back out of the deep cave-memory
The animal otherness
The bristle and heat.
But that hole’s grown cold
As this one in my skull
The creature long since dug and dragged out
And dropped there to be glanced at as my car swerves past
Into the long, empty distance
Through the bared grin.
by David Calcutt: His poetry appears widely in print, and he performs his work regularly in venues across the Midlands. He has written many plays and adaptations for theatre and BBC Radio 4. His play Gifts of Flame won the Sacred Earth Drama Award. He has plays published by Nelson Thornes and Oxford University Press. OUP also published two novels.
The holistic, biocentric vision widens in the later poems to embrace folklore and mythology. All this in a luminous accessible verse.
From Shropshire Review May 2013:
Katrina Porteous – Poet (Bloodaxe, Jardine, Selkirk Lapwing, Smokestack). Historian. Broadcaster:
I am hugely impressed. By concentrating on the small things, really looking at them, Nadia Kingsley and David Calcutt have managed to articulate something enormous.
I like the way the poems speak anonymously (like Wordsworth and Coleridge in ‘Lyrical Ballads’), with the authorship only acknowledged right at the end.
This gives a sense of the old political power of the poetry pamphlet, and before that the ballad and broadside tradition.
There is something shamanic, redemptive even, about the progress of the poems into the woods.
It’s also beautifully-produced.
Katherine Swift – Author of The Morville Hours:The Story of a Garden (Bloomsbury):
Terrific poems, terrific design !
Nick Pearson – Poet (Offa‘s Press):
It looks really good.
I like the sequence of poems and the clean, clear lay out of poems on the page.
Giving words plenty of space is important and not many publications do that.
Roger Garfitt – Poet (Carcanet):
The poems are beautifully set out and Keith Sagar’s note is eloquently phrased to point readers beyond the title.
Keith Chandler – Poet (Carcanet, Peterloo, Redbeck, O.U.P.):
The total look and feel of it as a publication is impressive…and their instinct that the central notion, road kill, is a strong theme is more than confirmed. – it is an interesting and thought-provoking “marriage” of different talents counterbalancing each other – there isn’t a weakling… it is a very CLASSY publication.
It really deserves lots of public readings, which Nadia Kingsley and David Calcutt do well.
Sarah Blunt :
What an astonishing idea; to write a book about road kill.
I have to admit the title and the front cover image rather repelled me, but in morbid fascination, I opened the book.
I was intrigued and drawn in.
Once I began to read, I kept turning the page …it’s a bewitching read.
Nadia Kingsley‘s scientific knowledge seeps through her poetry!
David Calcutt’s poems complement hers well ,with a harsher edge.
Ali Coles :
I really like the look of it.
I read a few snippets to the family at the tea table – Chaplinesque pheasants – and the one that got thunked – and moles getting rained on by worms – we were ‘hooked’.
Elaine Christie :
The book was wonderful, although a grim title – it was a wonderful trip through the life of animals and the countryside.
Both Nadia Kingsley and David Calcutt seem to be cut from the same cloth and their poems marry together beautifully.
Claire Walker – on their performance at Mouth and Music, Kidderminster April 2014:
I found the poetry delicate and stunning.
David and Nadia’s voices complimented each other beautifully.
Heather Wastie, poet and musician – on their performance at Mouth and Music, Kidderminster April 2014:
Featured spoken word artists, David Calcutt and Nadia Kingsley showed how page poetry should be performed. Quality work delivered with clarity and humour.