You were different when you came back,
Vulnerable, you frayed at the edges,
Got tangled when I wasn’t looking
And didn’t look when I was.

You stared out of windows, stopped
Speaking half-way through sentences
And nodded along to stories
That required head shaking.

One night, as I tried to thread a needle
By dim light, you unravelled quietly,
Like the shredded end of my yarn and
As sharp and pointed as I was
I couldn’t reach you.


In 2012 I entered a new type of poetry competition. In fact, Poetic Republic is more of a project than a competition. What’s different is that there is no one judge. Instead, everyone who has entered gets to judge selection of their fellow entrants’ poems. You judge 12 at a time, voting for the ones you think should go through to the next round. There are three rounds and eventually, a democratically elected winner. In fact, all 48 poems to make the final get published in an e-book. You can buy the book here.

More importantly, you get to read the comments of people who have read your poem! How thrilling / terrifying / downright weird is that? It’s actually rather wonderful, and people are very gentle and kind.

This poem started life in response to a writing exercise which suggested writing a poem which picks up where another one finishes. I can’t remember the poem I wrote that ended where this one begins, but I don’t think that really matters.