New Black Country Poetry


By Charmaine Host




If you are behind your Perspex
and I behind mine
how can we meet?

Does your mask of protection
mean I must not touch you?
Does mine mean I cannot be reached?


But I want to be burned
by the arc lamp of love
scorched and seared
with connection.

For this wounded heart needs
the white heat of healing
cauterisation to stop
the bleeding.


Brain Freeze


When I freeze like a computer screen
overloaded with data
there has been a signalling error
a system shutdown
a neural pathway derailment.


Earlier experience has been evoked.
A sergeant major issuing orders
commanding troops


I think they call it ‘father transference’.
But there was nothing ‘fathering’ about those times
just yelling, telling, hitting, hating.


And I know you are not my father.
I know your desire is to heal, not harm.
But in those moments, minutes, hours of ‘brain freeze’
I forget, and cannot access your tenderness.
It is deleted
or rendered ‘junk mail’.

Good Friday


It was a good Friday
the day she realised that the ground
beneath her feet was solid
and that she was safe.

It was a good Friday
when love
was in the field
and shame no longer figural.

It was a good day
when she woke to find her heart was light
for she had found someone
who was her saving grace.

She could say more about Good Friday;
redemption, salvation,
sin and death defeated,
but she has no need
for she knows now about self-giving love
because of a self who gave
And in her understated way
she is so thankful.





What if
she is good enough
to be:
wife, mother, friend, lover,
client, counsellor, prophet and priest?
Or even good enough to just be herself?
What if
she deserves:
laughter instead of tears, pleasure rather than shame?
Or even just deserves better?
What if
‘not being good enough’
has been the cornerstone of her life’s building,
the foundation upon which all her choices have been made?
What if
this stone is removed?
What will
the landscape look like when
these walls of Jericho come tumbling down?
What and how will she rebuild?



First Fire


A stone is rolled away
and like the first fire of Easter
she knows resurrection.
Then she remembers her name.
She remembers her name as it is spoken
by the one who loves her.
She remembers her name when she hears it
in the voice of the one she loves.
And in that hearing lie hope, healing, gift, grace and beauty.
In that hearing she remembers she is called by name



Charmaine Host

Born a long time ago in Walsall, Charmaine spends her time equally between being a Church of England Vicar and a student of Fine Art at Wolverhampton University.

She was one of the first group of women to be ordained priests in the Church of England – this new direction as an undergraduate art student has come much more recently.

Charmaine also has a professional counselling qualification and her writing and art have emerged as part of her own therapeutic process. She started writing poetry in 2012.