Abegail Morley’s Snow Child

Abegail Morley lives in Kent where she works as a librarian. She is guest poetry editor for The New Writer and her first collection, How to Pour Madness into a Teacup (Cinnamon 2009), was shortlisted for The Forward Prize Best First Collection. Snow Child (Pindrop Press, 2001) will be launched at The Phoenix Artist Club on Charing Cross Road on Tuesday November 15th from 7.30 pm. All welcome.


“Abegail Morley’s Snow Child gifts us bold, unflinching, memorable poems, dazzling in their precision and clarity. This is a poet who faces life’s wonders, complexities and losses head-on, and invites us on a lyrical journey which will, at times, take our breath away.”

– Catherine Smith
“At the heart of Abegail Morley’s powerful second collection is a deep sense of loss. The poems work at countering that loss with tangible visceral images that both disturb and sing with their own gorgeousness. Morley has captured just what it feels like to be living inside a skin so thin, the sun burns right through in all its lucid glory.”

– Helen Ivory
“Intensely personal poems of love, desertion, obsession, written with great skill and delicacy yet with a disturbing sparsity and uncanny detachment. Snow Child is a captivating and impressive collection.”

– Malcolm Carson



In the half-hidden dark of the garden hedge,
worm-curled I wait for you, one hand over my mouth,

the other snatching at blackness, scrabbling at leaves,
dragging dry soil so I’m covered by night. I coil, fists clench —

I eat air. My stomach retches, coughs up
earth. I know you wait until it is too late

for me to pass unseen. My veins lie open
for you to pick your way through my body.

I crawl, there’s mud on my hands
and knees. From here the garden spreads itself out:

the lawn leans to the left of the house;
from this angle I could roll myself up the path,

bundle through the back door, keeping below
knee-height so you wouldn’t see me.

I roll on my belly but do not fold —
my limbs stick out where once they furled;

hip bones grind stones, and all the time the leaves
say too much — they witter in the wind.

If I can be still long enough, this will all work; I will
outlive you, but my head has turned inside out —

it shouts to you. I know you have come for me.
You carry a leash between your teeth.



You left whilst I was washing my wounds with vinegar,
skin burning, stuck full of pheromone —

it attracts violence you know, pheromone,
it yells to others, Sting her, sting her, sting her.

My eyes slip in their own liquid like wasps
skidding on sweetness in a jam-jar trap.

By now you’re 50 miles away at the Dartford Tunnel,
thrumming your way through. Here my skull’s stuffed

with wasps bashing their wings, wedged between
bone and skin. Soon their humming stops.

I see them sink in the syrup, their legs struggling,
compound eyes flicking mosaics, ocelli fuzzy,

out of focus. We look at each other for the first time:
my irises saffron, flaxen  — sticky with sleep.

They drown when I tell them, He can’t come back.

from Snow Child (Pindrop Press, 2011).

Visit Abegail’s Pindrop Press page.

Visit Abegail’s blog.
Visit The New Writer’s website.


7 thoughts on “Abegail Morley’s Snow Child

  1. hollyannegetspoetic

    These are simply amazing! I love the use of language and the creeping sense of wrongness. So simple, yet so clever. I am so glad I stumbled across this page and will be searching out more.

  2. Floss M Jay

    The images so simple and powerful resonate very deeply with me. Thank you, Abegail,
    Floss M. Jay

  3. Melissa Lee-Houghton

    Such strong, resonant poems. I have ordered my copy and can’t wait to read it! This is a very exciting book. There’s something about Abegail’s writing that just sends a tingle down my spine.

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