Poetry of the North: three poems by Penny Blackburn




The soil here is too soft.
This landscape holds no edges.

It lacks the cracked cliff
grit bound
granite proud escarpment ledges.

Birdsong too melodic, hear,
too tuned
the notes fall full perfect
on the ear.

In silent fields
the inkfall night
lacks the ever glowing ribbon of light

that carves through the curve of the valley to bruise it
with its half-heard, heart-heard,
motorway music.


Sound Mirrors


Scrunching. Over shinglescrape
pool patterned rocks. Flattened loaves of stone
in sea colours.
Muted blue and beige,
sad-sand brown, forgotten grey.

The sky opened out like the insides of feathers,
the day tethered to solitude
and the clumsy stitching together of misjoined memories.

Sound mirrors wait –
cast concrete careful
to see what you will say.


On The Beach


Mollusc forms – halves, wholes,
or worn to finer grains – slip-shift
through bare toes as waters
encroach, sculpting the form of my foot
sinking slowly.
I wonder how much effort it will take
to pull it back up.

How easy are our roots here,
holding us ankle-deep
in history and community.

Lonely figures pass distantly
across the backdrop of pale sand; sharp barking
carries over seaweed air.

The White Lady – elegant upon her rocks –
waits for her causeway to cover
and close her off; waits for dusk
to shine her blessing
brightly over the sea, over us.



Penny Blackburn lives in the North East of England and is a teacher by profession. As well as writing poetry she enjoys performing it ‘off-page’ as part of local open mic and spoken word events. She also writes short fiction and was the winner of the 2017 Story Tyne competition as well as being runner up in the Readers’ Digest 100-word-story competition 2018.


Banner image: Peter Barr

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