Poetry by Ellen Shelley

Ellen Shelley is a Newcastle-based poet. She was highly Commended for the Philip Bacon Ekphrasis Award, she is published in The Blue Nib, Eureka, Backstory, Other Terrain, Not Very Quiet, Eucalypt, The Canberra Times and Cordite.


The moment sticks 

like contact 

when told at twelve 

you are too old to be held.

Not unlike

being shinned by a swing.

Around the ends of breathless fingers,

a twist of thread reminds 

that at the point of separation

you become someone else. 

I traversed the streets

no roadside bloom of fluorescent precision.

My body comprised 

of the unwanted, 

cuts and peels

gnawed away 

like a compost’s 

mouth at the fence. 

Outside on the cracked pavement

weeds push through like labour,

tools line up next to that pile 

my mother used to better the soil.

I sit and remember

the transferral of dirt

from one place to another. 


Dandelions float and drift 

counting the risk of light and lift

on each tiny spore. 

Distance is a promise mouthed at six feet.

This panic is no picnic.

A spread of white flags 

but nothing is covered.

Your birthday is a candle

the only thing going out.

It won’t matter if the buttons don’t match the bag.

We are voyeurs & no-one is looking.

We are tactile & out of bounds.

Airwaves jammed.

Static is the only flight

around this fragile moon.

Now that you're here

The Blue Nib believes in the power of the written word, the well-structured sentence and the crafted poetic phrase. Since 2016 we have published, supported and promoted the work of both established and emerging voices in poetry, fiction, essay and journalism. Times are difficult for publishers, and The Blue Nib is no exception. It survives on subscription income only. If you also believe in the power of the written word, then please consider supporting The Blue Nib and our contributors by subscribing to either our print or digital issue.

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Editor of An Astraíl, Denise O’Hagan selects poetry from new and established voices in Austrailia and New Zealand and is constantly searching for fresh and innovative voices in poetry from Ireland or The United Kingdom: Submit to An Astraíl.


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