One Poem by Annest Gwilym

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Red on Red

Red protects itself. No colour is as territorial. It stakes a claim, is on the alert against the spectrum. (Derek Jarman)

outside the room where nothing is natural and a red bed burns on terracotta tiles  rooks make jagged black nests in trees  piercing the innocence of baby blue skies while she stretches  opens her legs in invitation or obstruction  sensible shoes and ankle socks to hey babe take a walk on the mild side  counting sunbeams and sunglasses  contemplating train times  lunch times  the times they are a-changing times  bacteria breeding on skin  whether she dares eat a peach  how best to navigate squalid subways  breathe don’t breathe  look up look down  walk run  the number of steps required to reach the pareidolian blue portal on the wall and whether a slide of big red lipstick in Love in a Lift would calm her down

although it’s spring  autumn hides and multiplies in young hazel nuts that quietly bud on branches and brush the window with newborn sweetness while archangels sleep in attics waiting for Christmas and she contemplates red  for love  life  death  disquiet ardour  angst  the knife held too close to the flesh  the exquisite pain that flowers  blooms and how trees bear witness as they always must to the red of dawn splitting the sky while angels hide in leaves that flicker like flames


Annest is a poet, short story writer and jewellery maker who often wishes she were a painter instead. Editor of Nine Muses Poetry and proud owner of an adorable rescue terrier dog.

6 thoughts on “One Poem by Annest Gwilym

  1. I love the structure of this piece – how it looks but also how it feels, an urgency to match the red burn, I feel. Love the presence of the natural world too, you take the reader out of the red room with this but it’s still very much rooted in that redness space – gorgeousness

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sheree, I appreciate your thoughtful comments! I was aiming at a sort of breathless anxiety, so I’m pleased you picked up on the urgency.


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