Tanya Nightingale – Two Poems


Rewind to a time when you listened through,
when the human voice was thinner, higher,
and everywhere, that thick white noise.

The mahogany box takes root again,
its brass fixtures beautiful, its long branch
dropping into the rings.

A pause and then
scratchings of Browning, the Light Brigade,
Nurse Nightingale praising her boys.
Shivers of ghosts just caught,
legends pressed into wax,
and too close to put us at our ease,
gods in the machine.


The Wishing Tree

 (Exhibition, Manchester Art Gallery July 20th 2013)

A tinder day.  The brazen sun
licks the tops of tired trees.  Summer leaves
turn brown and drop for thirst.
We seek stone walls and find ourselves
four loud shoes inside a pristine space.
Standing in the centre, a tree,
iron limbs thick with words,
so many luggage tickets:

“Why can’t we be peaceful?”
“I wish fountains flowed with Vimto.”
“I’m being deported tomorrow.”

The Trevi and the Berlin Wall,
every well with a coin,
keeps needs that leave us
despite ourselves,
the make believe we would believe,
the hopes we long to live.

Tanya believes poetry should turn people inside out. She won the Yorkshire Open Poetry Prize in 2008 and the Ryedale Poetry Competition in 2013 and her work has appeared in various journals, including Orbis, Other Poetry and Dream Catcher, for which she is a regular reviewer. She has performed her work at the Galtres Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe (with Rose Drew) and the Keats-Shelley House in Rome.

Tanya has a passion for the northern places: Finland, Norway, Iceland – and believes in a previous life she was a Viking bard. She loves all things theatrical and enjoys the simple things in life, like a well-cut diamond!

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