PAULA JENNINGS‘s poems are published in literary magazines, national newspapers and anthologies. Readings have included StAnza International Poetry Festival, Edinburgh Book Festival and Dundee Literary Festival. She facilitates poetry writing in many different settings and works with poets in groups and individually. In care homes and other venues, she uses creative communication to encourage self expression in people who have dementia. Her third collection, Under a Spell Place (HappenStance, 2015), is written in the voice of a woman with advanced Alzheimer’s.


After the Fall

I saw how the animals trembled
so I went back to the garden.
Lilith was still there in her snakeskin
chanting filaments of light
and the darkness that shapes them,
chanting silence
and the sounds that contain it.

She sang the tree;
the secretive power of roots,
leaves that capture light
to make flower and fruit.

She sang the snake;
its many glowing skins
beautiful then gone,
the way life renews.

Lilith chanted many truths
while I sat at her feet
and the angel with the sword of flame
could not touch me.




Nature Notes

It’s winter,
the season for feeding birds
and killing mice.
Why this dull routine?
Perhaps for a change,
we might feed mice
and kill birds.

the sea has been wild –
sand and seaweed
lashing the road –
and the minister ranting,
‘the largest wave
carries the surliest crab’.

Is he serious?
Callum from the fish hut
(with his new
looks bemused.
God moves
in mysterious ways.

On the bright side –
we’ve had orange sunsets
and speckled moons.
Orion is back,
his sequinned belt
the secret envy
of East Neuk fishermen.

And soon enough
the snowdrops will be up;
Cambo Woods
will writhe with electric cables
and flyers will advertise
that nice little earner,
Snowdrops by Starlight.




He’s knows he’s serious,
not a sunny love-lad,
not a fly-by-night,

and he’s very, very loyal;
when he loves he means it.
His trick is not to appear

in his own mirror.
His key is to be unaware
of the lock he is approaching.

He believes he’s a pilgrim
on naked knees.
The path is broken glass

but he is led,
the signs are all around:
the scornful back

that whispers come,
the slammed phone
that says yes, yes.


All works published by the Glasgow Review of Books are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and the journal reserves the right to be named as place of first publication in any citation. Copyright remains with the poet.


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The Glasgow Review of Books (ISSN 2053-0560) is a review journal publishing short and long reviews, review essays and interviews, as well as translations, fiction, poetry, and visual art. We are interested in all forms of cultural practice and seek to incorporate more marginal, peripheral or neglected forms into our debates and discussions. We aim to foster discussion of work from small and specialised publishers and practitioners, and to maintain a focus on issues in and about translation. The review has a determinedly international approach, but is also a proud resident of Glasgow.

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