Alice Willington: Bridesmaid

Alice Willington


The roses sleep in the study, in their bed

of bucket and water. Their scent is a guard,

a heaviness of rain which greets my whisper.

My nightdress is sewn like leather and silk.

The horse’s flank is warm and rough, woven

from tapestry and the keys of the flute,

whose notes are the owl-cry and guile

of my black witch. She glides among the pines

behind the forest of oak, hides under the stones

of the shivering burn, waits on the satin ice

folded like a veil on the loch. On the frost

of her voice she holds out the stems.

I prick my finger, and blood opens like a bulb.

Shoots of small hunger, unlatched like a metal chest,

stretch like the green dress of an aurum lily.

She eats the bitterness like honey. She drinks

the sap like wine. She holds out her cup

until I am dry and the moon is gone.

The pearls of my gown are rich in the sun.


The child holds the strings,


long lickedysplit lines that jerk

and loosen as he turns his wrists.

The wind is made from resin and horsehair,

the buffet of canvas swoops and soars

in the quiver of catgut.

The music falls and his arms go up,

he goes down the hill and over the barlines,

up into cadenza to tumble down.


jewels of grass

in corsets of spikes,

dry anenome

above taffeta leaves,

the glow of petals

compressed amethyst.

New Moon

new moon

close as skin,

skin lets us in

gentle as water,

snow lilt

on night skin.

Alice Willington was born in Scotland and now lives in Oxford. She completed the MSt in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford in September 2009. Her first publication was her poem Cartography, which was published in the November 2006 edition of Avocado Magazine. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2008 and was awarded second prize in the 2009 Ledbury Poetry Competition. Three poems were published in the fourth and current issue of the literary journal Horizon Review. She currently works for the University of Oxford Development Office.

2 Responses to “Alice Willington: Bridesmaid”
  1. I love the musical ‘Kite’, especially the “lickedysplit lines that jerk/ and loosen”. What a fine image. Thanks Alice!

  2. mark goodwin . gone ground says:

    The textures of Bridesmaid, both sonically and regarding its ‘touchable’ images are very rich. This would make for a gorgeous sound-enhanced poem. You can hear an example of sound-enhanced poetry here by Brandi Katherine Herrera (best through headphones) . You can also hear more examples by various sound-artist-poets and poet/musician-collaborators on ‘air to hear’ here:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: