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Mary MacRae 1942 - 2009

Mary MacRae website

** April 2018, Martyn Crucefix: The Poems of Mary MacRae **

           “I knew Mary MacRae as a member of a poetry workshop we both attended in north London. She came to writing poetry late and published just two collections – As Birds Do (2007) and (posthumously) Inside the Brightness of Red (2010) both from Second Light Publications. Her poem Jury …” (follow link above to read whole article)

** Poetry Society ‘Summer Reads 2014’:
Elizabeth Soule recommends
Inside the Brightness of Red **


previously published in Magma, 23, 2002;

in anthology Entering the Tapestry, 2003,

Enitharmon, ISBN 1 900564 48 3

Life Story


Night, and you step out into blackness, over

the side of the silent vessel, dreading that you

or your boots might slip and miss the rung, one

false move your last. Between above and below

you hang breathless, locked into history

and this is what you chose, what you want.


No moon, no starsthough light’s not what you want

only a sound like a thumb rubbing over

corrugated card as the men in your story

run down the ladder, loaded with kit. And you

feel rather than see, where the man below

you wavers, shifts his pack, now there’s no-one.


‘Dropped like a stone,’ I hear you say, ‘just one

splash and he’d gone.’ A small smile. You want

to cry, can’t quite believe the man below

the water wasn’t you, rehearse it over

and over again to convince yourself that you

survived the war, came home to tell your story.


It comes back to me now: hearing your story

I saw what you saw, clear as glass, how someone

plummeted down, but whether it was you,

or him, or someone else, I didn’t want

to know. Slid through a door that closed over

his head, from dark above to dark below.


Whoever that man was who plunged below,

if you’re the secret sharer of his story

then I’m yours. And the story isn’t over;

when you dropped like a stone you left me one

part short, however much I wantedwant

to understand the plot and why I miss you.


Taller than life, younger than in death, you

come to visit me now from way below

the spirit-level of dream; won’t speak. I want

to ask if you can love methat old story

but don’t; put my arms around you one

last time and say, I love you, over and over.


I conjured you from below by telling your story

and then I saw our two stories are one:

can I want yours to end before mine’s over?


Mary MacRae



 Mary MacRae photo

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via poetry p f

in the shop ...
in collection -
"Inside the Brightness of Red",
Second Light Publications

 in anthologies -
"Entering the Tapestry",
"Four Caves of the Heart",
Second Light Publications


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