Poem: Feathers

One of my big poetry achievements this year has been to finally have a poem published in Mslexia – something I’ve been trying to do for around a decade. And, as it happened, I ended up with poems in two consecutive isues! Funny how these things work out.

Here’s my poem, ‘Feathers’, which was submitted for the open callout on the theme of ‘journeys’.


I don’t know what I’m trying to say
exactly – only that today, commuting the hangdog
length of the river path, I spied
for the first time this season

a flight of silver breaking from the broad
shoulders of the water:

the metal undercarriage
of an office chair, unheeding
of predators, basking in the knowledge of itself,
its wheels uplifted to the weak sun,
a cursive uncurling towards the sky.

I swear I heard it calling reassurance to its young
on the brambled bank, a sudden circular song.
I swear I heard their ruffled hope reply.


‘Feathers’ was first published in Mslexia, Issue 83: Sept/Oct/Nov 2019


  1. Dear Katie

    I hope you are well. I work with Kate Lynch, for Kirkby Stephen Community Arts and I also run writing workshops locally. I’ve been doing both for some years now, and the writers have reached a point at which they’re ready to share their work in public. I’m planning an event for the spring/summer, in Kirkby Stephen, under the umbrella of KSCA, and we wondered if you would consider ‘headlining’ for us? I know you’ve done some really good work here already, and we’d love to hear some of your work. The local writers will be delivering a mix of poetry, short fiction, flash fiction and monologue. I hoped that you might be willing to share some of your poems and also an extract from your novel.

    We don’t yet have a date, but I’ve heard rumours that you may be going to Australia? It would be great if you could get back to me when you have time.

    With thanks and best wishes

    Vicki Bertram / Vicki Woof

    • Hi Vicki,

      Thank you so much for getting in touch! I would definitely be interested in doing this, but yes, I am headed to Australia in a couple of months – and I also have a couple of residencies in the first half of this year as well, so it would depend on dates. Please could you drop me a message through the ‘contact’ page on here, so I have your email address? Then I can email you directly to sort out whether I could fit in with your dates at all. https://halekatie.com/contact/

      Hope that’s ok – and happy new year!


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