Book Added Go to checkout. x

Now reading

Bone Ovation

by Caroline Hardaker

The Rains


Each raindrop contains a soul

I’m told, and sleet is nought

but the urgent need of the dead to meet

their loved ones once more in the mortal world.

To stroke their skin, to leave a living trace;

a tear drop – a thin, translucent meridian.


My grandmother never used an umbrella

and would tip back her head and eat the rain.

She said it made her feel alive again.



Your Bones and My Bones are Chicken Bones


Holding hands, a wishbone splits us from collar to cuff

and only the clucking between marks stars from seed.

Our eggs are born in our mouths, crowned around

with a wreath of tawny feathers we invent with speech,

and no expanse of crowing will whittle the chicken

into lark, or goose, or inky raven.

The chicken is a chicken – splaying gnarled toes and plucking skull,

and no new squawks will help that lie be sown.


But our bones are the same, I grant you,

our bones are the same. Composite of brittle chalk

and precious like the stalks of daisies in chains

holding together a form paused in the effort of flight.



The Girl Who Fell in Love With the Mountain


I kissed the southern face of a mountain;


his coat scrubbed coarse; smelt of bones

and the iron blood from ruined stone.

The earth moved with me, fell beneath my lips

and I was received into earnest mud;

an ancient epidermis of soft heathers, grass,

and gallant crags enclosing me as his hill-bairn.

I lay immersed, fingering vast feathers

tickling to tender licks, his form; my body-palm

and all the while I rested there

the sunlight streaked my hair with white.



The Weight on My Feet


My tired feet

have shed skins inside my shoes

and now shy; tired feet,

tired, fire-feet.

They crack; a knapsack of bones.

They’re stumps, stollen lumps

I press nightly to knead the butter out.


But they curl under, still,

coiling into paw-pads;

ripe plums to stand on.

Oh my feet, my tired feet

they hope to float so I soak them,

root them like bulbs

amongst nimbler water lilies

to let the rest of me talk.

My tired, tired, fire feet.

I have so much more to say.




Be part of our story. Join the Valley Press newsletter.