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Zoe Green: a poem



Plainsong


We'll off our shoes and walk barefoot

where once pigs put out to pannage, and

black-faced sheep grew fleece for Flanders' looms.

The night air thrums with insects where then

voices hummed, plainsong from men

who otherwise grew in a glade of silence.


Despite its ruination, this is a place of love.

Listen, and you can hear the lay brothers

tilting in jests in the old undercroft;

behind the cat-claw rankness of Herb Robert,

scent a thread of frankincense; sense

the owlish hush of white cowls at dusk.


Those sparks you thought were glow worms

are dead monks' candles lit in alcoves above

their stony cots. Come, let us lie down and burn

in their dormitory under the stars scattered like ash.

Nobody's coming, not in five hundred years.

Here we may kiss, test the weight of our bodies


on each other's scales. Let nature overtake

what once was holy; for our sanctuary

is in our bodies, in the vaults of our embrace,

the confessionals of lovers' ears, the stoops

of our mouths, the prayers of our eyes, the psalters

of our skins, the altars of our secret parts.



Originally from Montrose, Zoë Green lives and works in Vienna and Berlin. By day, she is a drama teacher; by night, a poet. Her poetry has featured in One Hand Clapping, the London Magazine, Atrium and Ink Sweat and Tears, and is forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review and The Interpreter’s House. She was shortlisted for the London Magazine Poetry Prize in 2022, and won a Candlestick Press competition. She is currently assembling her first pamphlet.

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