Three Poems by Claire Crowther


Paper Pattern


When I was laid under our lilac

not much made…


When I was laid under our lilac

(being born in May)

all the pattern was in my body.


I opened my eyes to rough leaves

blowing apart and broken.


Now I hold a leaflet

of shape with a picture and how to make it,

now I can read the pattern on paper

and try to make…


and every evening lay it down

not much made…







I want the inheritance

of shared hair.


I want the inheritance

of practicalities.

The knitting machine must punch its cards,

its electromagnets must cling on.


Yet I have to name belief as well as work it.

Which family title identifies

the hairiness of beings?


I am a Shorthaired Part-fleeced Hobs Moat.

You are a Thickhaired Whole-fleeced Shetland.

We are the family Sheep

of Shared Hair.





Pigeon Accessory



Since we peer

out from clothes

as if from thickets of bushes


birds read us:

‘Is that glove

a metonymic need to host me?’


Looking for


inside outfits is digging holes


in water.

I’ve not caped

nor swashbuckled nor flounced except


briefly once –

but I do

find myself alongside a rat


or pigeon


surprised, a burden of their style.



Claire Crowther has published three collections of poetry (with Shearsman Press), several pamphlets, and has a pamphlet, Hap, forthcoming from Happenstance Press later in 2019. Her work is recorded at the Poetry Archive. She is co-editor of the Long Poem Magazine.


Photography by Tony Crowther.





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