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2 poems by Elaine Beckett


I glimpsed a moth this evening, flittering at the window.

I thought I’d never see a moth again

apart from the ones I kill – else they’d be running the place

from carpet headquarters which is inconvenient,

because you don’t want caterpillars crawling up your walls,

however small, when you’re trying to persuade someone

to come and live with you: that it could work out really well

if only they’d forget about the lie you told them –

oh and I saw two pipistrelles, zipping through the dusk, as if they

were having fun but there are hardly any insects any more.

Where have the blue-bottles gone?

B Road Dawn

How to digest all the aeroplane food

is the question

they’re discussing on this radio show

that you never really listen to

but somehow you do

and you’re taking it in

while the windscreen’s being scratched

by the blade you should’ve changed

because that’s where you are in your life right now

on your own

in the sheeting, sheeting rain.

All the way to Sydney with no touch down;

the stuff they’d have to feed you

to keep you awake

when you’d think you were asleep

and now – there ahead by the five-bar gate –

an early morning squirrel’s

just starting to leap

to dazzle-cross the tarmac o no stay right there

don’t start turn start to run back thwack!

its tiny body goes

thwack beneath me as the news carries on

about the protest

all the protest going on

about whatever it’s about

and now this shadow.


Elaine Beckett’s 1st full length collection ‘Sea Creature Regrows Entire Body’ (2021) is

available from Verve Poetry Press. She was awarded a Faber New Poets prize in 2016 for

her debut pamphlet ‘Faber New Poets 13’. Elaine originally trained as a composer and

holds a PhD from the University of York. She was born in London, now lives and works in



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