‘Ladybird’ on London Review Bookshop website

lrb - ladybird

EVENT: We’re celebrating Carcanet’s New Poetries VII with a reunion event at the Bookshop on Tuesday 18 June, featuring poets Zohar AtkinsRowland BagnallIsabel GalleymoreLisa Kelly and Phoebe PowerBook tickets here. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be featuring a poem from the collection by each of the poets who’ll be reading – check back regularly for the next one.


Every autumn I forget they do this,
until they do –
hard-faced carapaces,
little mechanical legs across my bedroom ceiling
insinuating into warm gaps,

congregating under cornices,
black-eyed blotches staring me down.

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home
Your house is on fire, and your children are gone

Occasionally, a maverick, lured by the mellow glow
of the bedside light, will lift its elytra,
like the doors on a Lamborghini
to reveal filmy black wings,

and fly towards my open mouth.

Ladybird, lazy bird fly out of bed
Your home is infested …

but I shrink back from scooping its crunchiness
into tissue, messing
with its reflex bleeding, yellow toxins oozing
out of its exoskeleton.

All except one and that’s little Ann

(The receptionist had a tattoo on her arm.
In its freckled baby belly, Always in my heart)

New Poetries VII’ is published by Carcanet, price £14.99. Zohar Atkins, Rowland Bagnall, Isabel Galleymore, Lisa Kelly and Phoebe Power will be reading from the collection at the Bookshop on Tuesday 18 June. Book tickets here.

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