National Poetry Day: Days Like This
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National Poetry Day: Days Like This

We recently ran a National Poetry Day competition asking people to think about what refuge means to them. Below is the winning entry by Liz McPherson:


Days Like This


On days like this there are

certain things that you recall

-my grannies who relished nothing more

than an ounce of udder and cow’s heel

smothered in malt vinegar,

a triple word score at Scrabble,

getting all their letters down

or a hand-knitted sock

with the heel neatly-turned.


You learn to register these things;

like when the dog chases a raven

at the bottom of the garden

for the thrill of the bark,

the rush of blood, just the sheer

possibility that it won’t flap away

out of reach, fluttering like a ballgown

on the sudden breeze.


Or when sunbeams nudge

the edges of curtains on a Sunday

morning while you’re still distant

with sleep. Or the moment you finish

work before a bank holiday weekend,

or sitting in a tent with rain tapping

on canvas, green scents uncurling

into the warm evening.


I’ve always worried that seeking

joy might be overrated – like going

to a restaurant and finding

the food overpriced. Maybe

you have to sneak up on it, like

that raven at the bottom of the garden

not expecting to catch it but finding it

nestling like a yellow celandine

on the cusp of your hand.