There’s nothing mellow about my autumn

I’ll rage like Dylan’s father against

the coming of the dark.

Bright red as a maple leaf I’ll dance

a dervish whirl through the air

I’ll not lie in the mud and rain

beneath your feet, sodden and brown.

Let me go out in a bonfire’s flame

the pain may be bad but

it won’t last long.  I’ll rise

flying upwards in fiery sparks

before falling like ash

on your hair.


© Miriam Hastings


Insomnia in the city


 The fan whirs, muffling the sounds

 of the city, but still they seep

 like heat through the open window.

 Sirens wail and the scream

 of a car alarm carried through

 the stillness,

the hot night air.

 Sudden shouting, footsteps running

 on tarmac, then laughter

 bitter and hard, rattling

 against an alley wall like stones


in a tin.

 A fox barks, and the vixen

 just beneath the window

 answers him, in the morning

 soiled nappies, polystyrene

 cartons lie abandoned

 by dustbins, discarded

 beneath cars.


     Copyright © Miriam Hastings




Mother and Daughter:

 Demeter - Persephone.


She walks the empty earth

tears bitter, freeze as they fall

forming shapes, strange

beautiful, inimitable as a child.

The first snow baptising

the earth into a new age

a hard beginning

a deadly winter.


The weight of her grief

burdens the earth as she walks

her feet crushing life

beneath. She bore a child, racked

body labouring.  This new pain

racks her mind, a loss abortive,

bitter as stillbirth, the rape

of her daughter.


Snow like a blanket

muffles the earth, thawing

the iron hard soil, warming

the girl entombed deep below,

blood stabbing through veins

painful as birth, she forces her way

from earth’s dark core, clawing

ever higher


through frozen ground, limbs

stiff with ice.  Dragged

from her lover, she staggers

like a ghost across snow-white wastes.

Called from the dead,

undead she comes,


her mother.


Copyright © Miriam Hastings