Three Poems by Amber Kennedy



There was a world

where they liked to play

on giant china plates,

like vinyl on the whirl,

where harmonies

were eight billion tones deep

and instrumentals

were the calls of birds

to prayer, to morning, to light.


There was a world

where euro notes flapped

in the trees, in the breeze

dropping pounds, berries and dollars

down to un-starved earth,

where they didn’t care for harvests

for they’d already reached the top,

where they toasted time over Tibet,

their prize un-gambled, un-bet


There was a world

where the trees sang

in pheromones,



for the lumberjacks

slumbering over the hills,

where time is mapped in rings

which talk to the future


There was a world

where the spiral stair

looped round in a figure of eight,

though none could count to seven

and none believed in heaven,

where everything was always simmering,

ready to metamorphose,


like meta-prose


There was a world

where ritual wasn’t habitual

but an optional door

opened by snakes de-vilified,

where Eden was no longer burning

and Amazons

bade you take the fruit

and share the riches of earth –

a new testament birthed


There was a world

where they talked in anagrams,

(and allegories)

and life was allegro – growing,

sowing the seeds of peace,

where pieces were no longer sectioned,

mentally institutionalised

but left – floating islands –

rooted by the veins of the sea


There could be a world

where books are surrendered

to blank covers

and you pick up your find

blind, perisco-

-pally making your mind

more candles blown than years spent

on your little birthday cake,

on your giant china plate.


After the Briefest Time


A bird swoops low over verdant reeds,

Its legs inverted hang as loose as strings,

Light wings - cast wide - embrace the barren world,

Its beak dips down in search of guarded rest.

A wetland summer calls the migrant birds

And flocks descend to dip their yellow feet,

Gathered and unified in green-tipped blue,

Each one so indistinct: just dots to me.


A little girl with haystack golden hair

Crawls through hedges into barley fields,

And reaches out her arms in a careless yawn

Beside the windswept feathers of the ground.

A siren chime calls her back inside,

Ignores the summer sun which lingers on.

The golden feathers weave around her waist:

Her tiresome duty not quite displaced.


A raptor bows his head in fierce resolve,

His lifted talons claw out from his core:

A gollum’s grip to seize his precious prey,

His focused eyes unwavering from the prize,

He flies above it all: a god’s eye view,

Exacts his callous order on them all,

Invulnerable and proud: deprived of heart;

October flames indulge his violent part.


Insistent rays of orange light pierce through

And dance upon her dew-dropped sunken eyes,

The sun falls low across the crumbling bark

And paths are lined with red and amber leaves,

She looks at all of this and feels such pain,

Such agony of thought and mind and soul;

She yearns for colder ice upon her skin

To put out all the blazing fires inside.


The robin sits upon a garden branch

And looks at you, head cocked towards the glass,

You sit inside, beside the glowing fire,

And listen to the gentle Christmas hymns.

The robin knows that food is scarce and sparse,

But unaware of the gravity of mortal death,

In hunger looks towards your world of light,

And doesn’t know you fear the endless night.


The mirror reveals a tragedy suppressed,

The rivers dark that run upon the skin,

And beauty fades like life, no longer fresh,

The body aches just like a weary soul,

Your voice as rough as time-worn rocks,

For Auld Lang Syne, you drink and cheer and then

You wonder if it meant anything at all:

The hours and months and years of endless toil.


The silent bird stares right at me,

And asks if on this earth he’s free

The seasons pass for him as well,

And though he may not know it yet

His clock is hung upon the wall,

And though it may be springtime now

He can’t forget the winter cold,

The dark and earth’s eternal hold.


The flowers rear their heads in spring,

And earth allows life to resume,

Unconscious for the briefest time,

One clock suspended –

Doesn’t chime, held in sacred light,

Therein lies freedom from it all,

The crying child stares right at me,

But does not wonder if he’s free.


The Cottingley Fairies


I saw a mermaid by the shore

She combed her untamed hair,

Then smiled and blushed and waved at me

Aware that she was rare.


Once upon a time in the grove of the Cottingley fairies, a camera carved a scene and gave it to an eye, which gave it to a brain just willing to believe, and for a moment there suspended, were wings fluttering freely by and little sparks of spirit – intangible as air.


I saw a prisoned minotaur

The beauty of a beast;

He stepped aside and let me pass

And then his hunger ceased.


Once upon a time in the grove of the Cottingley fairies, a camera carved a scene and gave it to an artist who wandered in nature’s womb, adrift from a city burning, cursed and crumbling in scrapers to the sky.


I saw a centaur in the woods

Who talked but no one heard,

In bitterness, he softly said:

‘I’m not the one preferred’


Once upon a time in the grove of the Cottingley fairies, a camera carved a scene and gave it to a taxonomer who shovelled out the mud, and planted there a flag with an arrow marked Delusion.


I could (not fit in) side their box


and nor could they –

the ones I met upon the shore,

within the maze,

inside the wood;

they tried to hole-punch it out – of – me:

the haze at the edge of the lens;

they tried to put a full stop

exactly at the end.

they tried to fix me with iron rulers

but I don’t straighten up for kings,

for I’m set upon my wings;

they tried to edit me

and fix my form

but I kept writing

over them,

I could (not fit in) side their box,


but that was my design

Amber Natalie Kennedy is a poet and fiction writer from Oxfordshire, England, currently studying Creative Writing at Durham University. Amber has attended and led The Henry Box School and Durham University creative writing groups. She attended the Oxford Writer’s Squad in 2012-13 and the Finding the Poem virtual course at the Collage Writing Room in 2021. She has a degree in English Literature and is the Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Spellbinder quarterly literary and art magazine. She has self-published a volume of poetry, Immersion, and a novella, The Remains of Beauty. She has also been published in Better Than Starbucks poetry magazine.


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