They’ll punish you like they did
Alice Fitzpatrick for crunching on
an apple in church, her cold gloat
reduced to half a calf’s lick: a curl
of baby hair tossed into crater lake.
Distilled aqua ersatz, tear-stained
glass in Mary’s corner.


Elsham quarry

I took a photo to show you
though it came out negative:
it’s half past four in the old quarry
and the halogen horizon throws

an artificial dark onto
spiny crystalline larches,
like silver scales on a speckled
river trout glistening upwards,
charming the daytime moon.


The Hydrangeas

‘Why hydrangea blooms change colour in different localities,
a mystery that baffled science for years,
has been found through tests to be due to acid in the soil’

(H.H Windsor ed. Popular Mechanics Magazine, Dec 1923, Chicago U.S.A. p.921)
The hydrangeas in the front garden
have always been blue.
The acidic soil bleaches
them before each bloom:
a miraculous reaction
from an obliging nucleus
staining a million candy—floss
cells a provincial cornflower hue
that’s one thousand years’ old,
woven into larks on a duchess’ gown
and family crest,
thread over thread
to breast, eye and feather.


Grace Herring is a writer, fossil lover, early-night advocate and recent English Literature graduate based in Newcastle. She is pursuing an MA in Creative Writing in September and has forthcoming poems due to be published in Greyscale magazine’s ‘Northern’ issue. Find more of Grace’s writing here.

Photo: milena mihaylova