Angela Kirby was born in rural Lancashire in 1932 but now lives in London. Her widely published poems have won prizes and commendation in several major competitions, and are translated into Rumanian. Shoestring Press publish her six collections. Her sixth collection Where the Dead Walk came out in July.




Poems for morphrog26


The Scaremonger

Such a Man




He’s getting a divorce next year
and then he’ll marry me, that’s
a promise, he says. Well,
she’s never understood him,
never appreciated what a
sensitive, intelligent man
he is, never, and she’s always
banging on, he says, about
her precious creativity and her
bloody career.  Now I ask you,
who would call be being a poet
any kind of career? While he
is really successful, quite the
entrepreneur, selling his own
well-respected line of exotic
lady’s underwear – oh, silly me,
that should be lady’s exotic
underwear, shouldn’t it? He tries
them out on me in our bedroom,
tells me I’m his inspiration, while
she wouldn’t recognise a thong
even if he strangled her with it.
Roll on next year is what I say.

© Angela Kirby




It’s a damp, chilly trade
but see how skilfully
he presents his wares  –
those white-gilled rumours,
still-twitching gossips,
and wide-mouthed
sharp-toothed calumnies.

He rims then with samphire,
seaweed, parsley,
hands them out to
anyone who stops
and listens to his spiel
while his partner, that
foul-tongued fishwife

trawls through all the
county’s muddied pools
for scaly rumours, slimy
scandals and spiny-backed
invectives, all of which
she pickles in vitriol, then
charges high for them.

© Angela Kirby



when that summer
swallows nested in the barn
he stopped work
and allowed no noise
until the fledglings flew
then boasted of them
like any proud father

next, feral cats moved in
his bed heaved with fleas
and starving kittens
but he fed them and slept
with them under a cover
stained with their food
and excrement

then spring came
a mallard nested in the garden
hatching six ducklings
so he made a pool
a shed and a run for them
beneath the apple trees
to keep them safe

this was a man who
one winter day packed
a bag, took his whiskys
left the house, his wife
the five children, shut the door
behind him, walked away
and didn’t look back

© Angela Kirby