When It Snowed


you made it sound simple:
how wild geese flying south 

over Grizedale forest is a sign,
how ice used to paralyse Esthwaite lake

where Wordsworth skated
in his black coat, how winters fall

like prayers, how snow stitches
and mends all that is broken.

Through the pale hospital window
I watch roofs blanket white, cars

balancing great hats, footprints healing
themselves as if to trick me into believing

it’s just another of your winter days
and everything will recover. 

by Kerry Darbishire

The Poetry Centre has just announced its programme of events for the first half of 2020! It features a reading by American poet Maya Popa; the launches of our latest ignitionpress pamphlets by Mia Kang, Majella Kelly and Alycia Pirmohamed; two events as part of the Think Human Festival – The Poet as Soldier and Veteran and Constitutions and Poetry – and a reading by André Naffis-Sahely, James Attlee & Hasan Bamyani. For more details and to book (free) tickets, visit our website.

The Weekly Poem will now take a short break until after Christmas. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a great start to 2020! Thank you for reading!

‘When It Snowed’ is copyright © Kerry Darbishire, 2019. It is reprinted from Ten Poems about Snow, selected and introduced by Carole Bromley (Candlestick Press, 2019) by permission of Candlestick. You can read more about the pamphlet here.

Kerry Darbishire, a songwriter and poet, grew up in the Lake District and continues to live and write in a remote area of Cumbria. Her poems have appeared widely in anthologies and magazines and have won several competition prizes. She has published two full poetry collections with Indigo Dreams: A Lift of Wings (2014) and Distance Sweet on my Tongue (2018). She co-edited the Handstand Press Cumbrian Poetry Anthology, This Place I Know. Handstand Press also published Kay’s Ark, an account of Kerry’s mother’s life. Kerry regularly reads her work at poetry events and is a member of Dove Cottage Poets. Follow Kerry on Twitter here.

Candlestick is a small, independent press based in Nottingham and has been publishing its sumptuous ‘instead of a card’ poetry pamphlets since 2008. Subjects range from Birds and Cricket to Tea, Kindness, Home and Puddings. Candlestick Press titles are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, as well as by galleries, museums and garden centres. They can also be ordered online at Candlestick’s website where you can find out more about the full range of titles. You can follow Candlestick on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. In 2018 Candlestick sold over 75,000 pamphlets.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.

December began with shopping

for the exotic: mint and apple sauce,
imported rosemary, cranberries, candied
peel and blocks of English butter.

It began with baking, the Christmas cake
drenched daily with dark brandy
until it oozed from the lightest finger-flick

and emptying jar after jar
of Robertson’s mincemeat into pastry.
Cinnamon gold-dusted everything.

After the final Advent window,
we opened all our doors,
welcoming hungry occupants, their cars

filling up the driveway, aunts and uncles,
cousins in greater and lesser iterations,
the generations dressed in batik, bearing gifts.

The kitchen was ever at the heart of it.
My parents cooked together.
Crackling, perfection an inch thick

on the side of pig that Dad roasted
while Mum beatified the oven-pan,
red wine gravy, bliss of roux.

Cheerful, family sat where we could,
plates heavy in heady heat, heaped
meat, golden potatoes, peas, carrots too.

Our hands were full. Still there was more,
glasses, cups, Anchor beer and Sunkist,
hot kopi, Cointreau, joyful chatter,

mince pies with cream, walnuts
to crack and chocolates to unwrap.
Dad asked again, again and

again if we’d enough to eat
until decidedly replete, my extended family
levered to their feet, departed noisily.

Day cooled to a close. Dusk drifted quiet
through rooms to settle on stacks
of washing up glinting in the sink.

It was always good, that stillness,
sky kissed with flecks of light,
night unbuttoning its mysteries.

by L. Kiew


‘December began with shopping’ is copyright © L. Kiew, 2019. It is reprinted from Christmas Spirit: Ten Poems to Warm the Heart (Candlestick Press, 2019) by permission of Candlestick. You can read more about the pamphlet here.

L. Kiew lives in London and is of Chinese-Malaysian descent. She works as an accountant but finds time for poetry and her work has been widely published in magazines including The Scores and The North. Her debut pamphlet The Unquiet was published by Offord Road Books in 2019. Find out more about her work on her website and follow her on Twitter.

Candlestick is a small, independent press based in Nottingham and has been publishing its sumptuous ‘instead of a card’ poetry pamphlets since 2008. Subjects range from Birds and Cricket to Tea, Kindness, Home and Puddings. Candlestick Press titles are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, as well as by galleries, museums and garden centres. They can also be ordered online at  Candlestick’s website where you can find out more about the full range of titles. You can follow Candlestick on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. In 2018 Candlestick sold over 75,000 pamphlets.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.