poetry pf header



Margaret Eddershaw      about Margaret      back to Margaret's page

events listing


home button poets button features button

links button shop button about ppf button email ppf button


last update:      

Stone               Girl

         Navigating the Night           Rare Orchid




Without my stone companions

I’d be madder than my husband.

Our son’s mortal pining left scars

sharp as flints in a glacier’s womb.


My body traces a daughter’s loss, too

like dark veins in marble.

Yet this gallery of sculpted ghosts

turned purgatory into hibernation.


Pacing like a snow queen

among Paulina’s collected treasures  

I pause in wonder at peerless Hera

flaunting her branch of immortality.


I often finger Victory’s pleated robe

ruffled feathers wind-borne by freedom

jealous of her headless state —

no thoughts to disturb her mind.


Even in sleep, I see the caryatid’s

slow smile framed by lengthy plaits

certain as Hercules

of bearing her burden forever.


I touch Venus’s cool thigh to know

this hand is warm, compare our breasts

my unwilling breath barely perceptible

and I’d swear it’s she that moves.


Now Paulina says my daughter breathes

in her penitent father’s embrace,

so these years of aesthetic nurture

become a rehearsal for my rebirth.


Fearing our theatrical coup

be deemed witchcraft

we agree music will conjure magic

and serve as my cue to move.


Dim the lights, Paulina

the stone stands ready to speak.



Margaret Eddershaw

published in Frogmore Papers, 2007






I want to write a poem about that girl

the one we picked up on a mountain road

miles from anywhere, in Lesotho.


First seeing her slim figure striding

coloured blanket flapping loose

an everyday scene there.


I’d try to capture the serene smile

as she climbed into the back seat

waving us on with long fingers.


No language in common

smiles kept us going.

Just a local hitch-hiker you’d think.


Yet when she asked us to stop —

leaping out

beside a few large-horned cows

that browsed the roadside

her cane raised to herd them —

she flashed naked thighs

cut off by brief denim shorts.


I’d tell how

as we drove off

her sensuality still filled the car.



Margaret Eddershaw

published by Cinnamon Press, 2008





Navigating the Night


Waking in the small hours

sleep as slippery as a shoal

he re-lives his old routine:

leaving home before stars fade

crunch of shingle under waders

father loading fish-boxes

brother checking the engine

granddad greasing winches

quick sips of thermos tea

before the clinker-strong trawler

glides between groynes

ploughs over grey surge.


Bow nosing toward the horizon

his night’s eye checks compass points

store-boxes moored close in

lobster-pots on buoys out further

then his sea-chart memory unfurls

deep water constellations

crevasses scoring chalk reefs

a shipwreck tilted on seabed pebbles

massive sandstone clusters

marking the moment to pay out nets

till the swell and rock of his bed

haul sleep aboard once more.



Margaret Eddershaw

2nd Prize, Wells Literature Festival, 2008





Rare Orchid


The Paph Sanderianum orchid, known as the

Jungle Warrior, blooms only once in a decade.


After a day of fuses and sockets

the electrician

retreats each evening

to his greenhouse’s humid embrace.


His dynamic protégées

flaunt their frilly skirts

flash freckled tongues

between glossy lips

luminous wings sparking magenta

yellow and white into the gloom.


He moves shyly among them

speaks softly of

light, time, beauty

and inevitable fading.


Every night of this tenth year

a last check on his ‘jungle warrior’:

the torch’s beam reveals

one elongated bud has just split

exposing a coil of red ribbons.


Days later, a neighbour finds him

earthed on a dark bed

his pale face lit with eternal joy

crimson tendrils wired

into the shock of white hair

like a classical hero.



Margaret Eddershaw

published in anthology, Night Balancing, 2006,

Blinking Eye Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9549036-4-0


© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet
site feedback welcome