TWO POEMS – Tim Kiely

Photo by American Heritage Chocolate on Unsplash

The Prime Minister Has Brought Cake for Everyone

the cake is made of Walthamstow
a dense and glutinous Walthamstow
we are going to make Walthamstow
a Titanic success for Walthamstow

the time has come that Walthamstow
stood alone as Walthamstow
opportunity for Walthamstow
we will not betray Walthamstow


I am proud of Walthamstow
the sunlit uplands of Walthamstow
await the decade of Walthamstow
at a reasonable price for Walthamstow

half blind on Walthamstow
I stick to my guns in Walthamstow
no to the gloomsters of Walthamstow
no surrender to Walthamstow


our apparent success in Walthamstow
won’t be enough in Walthamstow
follow the rules in Walthamstow
take it on the chin in Walthamstow

be in no doubt that Walthamstow
will lead the fight against Walthamstow
pink-eyed limbless Walthamstow
an oven-ready Walthamstow

Preparing Eggs for Easter

Back home, she says, most people just buy dyes
for days like this, or get them readymade,
but we are going to do this properly:
preparing here, over the steaming pans
that serve as caldrons, while the kitchen seethes
with industry, a seasonal mosaic

in four pieces. A Polish tradition,
minus the consecration from the priest
that comes on Saturdays. One colour each:
red cabbage; parsley; turmeric; beetroot;
a vinegar whisper, and then the wait
as four selected eggs slip in. We sit

and watch. The kettle breathes. I try meanwhile
to be a useful stander-by, at least.

It doesn’t go quite as we hoped. Our shades
don’t take. Even the royal blue that folds
luxurious from cabbage leaves laps up
against the shell and leaves it pale. The pan,
not deep enough to take the whole first egg,
ensures a rolling belly just above

the water-line, a thing that may, next time
(with proper preparation) go to make
a pattern, or the start of one; the clean
and pregnant shell of all that’s possible;
the words that didn’t add up to a poem

faced with a fresh beginning. Now we break
our hard-boiled first attempts, strip down and eat.

Tim Kiely is a criminal barrister and poet based in London. His work has been published in: Lunar Poetry; South Bank Poetry; Fly on the Wall; Under the Radar and Magma. He contributed to the Emma Press anthology ‘Everything That Can Happen’, and he has had poems commended and anthologised as part of the 2019 Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry and the 2020 Verve Poetry Festival Competition. His debut pamphlet, ‘Hymn to the Smoke’, was a winner of the 2020 Indigo Dreams First Pamphlet Competition.

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