Insomnia in the city


 The fan whirrs, 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 them.  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

still rigid, stiff with ice.  Dragged

from her lover,

she staggers like a ghost

across snow-white wastes.

Called from the dead,

undead she comes, hunting

her mother.


Copyright © Miriam Hastings




A forbidden thing


I offer you

Eve with the apple

you fear

poisoned sweetness.

Love that is sin



from heaven to hell.

Heaven in hell?



 a garden


 by spears of fire

 angels with flames



an orchard

full of richness

round bright fruits

soft curves and fullness

polished and shining

pungent and moist

such earth warmth


ripe and juicy apple

bringing health



See, love,

how good for you

this fruit they call


this love outlawed, feared

kept hidden, wasted

 apples left rotting

on the tree.


Take it

my love I offer you

myself to lick

to bite

to refresh yourself

with love

a forbidden thing.


Copyright © Miriam Hastings



The Woman in the Moon


There is a woman in the moon

living alone

and the space around her grows

vaster every day.

She watches the spinning earth

so far away

green with life in the sun


but then she turns away

and looks only

at the bare rock, the empty

moonscape of her life

and the void of endless space

with no boundaries

to rest her eyes.


She reaches out her arms -

but then they drop

and hang empty at her sides.


(First published, Spokes, Issue 17)

Copyright © Miriam Hastings



    Notes from an East London garden


Creaking spider’s web

 a rotary line spinning

 carrying strange prey.


Aimlessly a boy

 kicks his ball against the fence

 over and over.


On the back step his

 grandmother sits, grinding seeds

 cumin and mustard


coriander and

 fennel, scenting the hot breeze

 his mouth salivates.


Unseen a fox lurks

 saturates the air; sharp smell,

 a troubling wildness.


Copyright © Miriam Hastings