Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021: Mrs / Mother Hail

Mrs/Mother blessed art the windowpanes

O keep us from the lure of dust

forgive this hankering for distant lanes

give us brave archangels of morning sun


Mrs/Mother hail the dull bulb of scratched spoons

for we must lift the humility of soup

O deliver us from the sin of bread

excuse the rough palm its trespassing of skin


Mrs/Mother O let us learn the hollow curse of curdled pans

the evil celibacy of the washing up

the everlasting weight of a dowager’s hump

lead us not into the drowning of knives


Mrs/Mother O pity thy uncovered fruit

pray for the sake of one small brown bruise

for the baptism of potatoes for the hour

of their laying bare the mining of sprouted eyes


Mrs/Mother O speak as one who stoops to crumbs

glory! for the cumber of a used womb

have mercy upon the quiet chapel of upturned cups

suffer the the bowl’s foam the smell of grass


Mrs/Mother O rise before such nights of bleak glass

light without end and light and light and light!

and forever there shall be the sight of birds

invisible tastes of water amen

Poem recorded as part of Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2021. Used by permission of author.

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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Jane Burn

I am a late-diagnosed autistic person and poetry is the best way I have of maintaining a dialogue with the world around me. Poetry is my fluency, the way I connect with people, the way I explore my ideas. Nature and the minutiae of everyday are integral to every poem I write. It is important to represent neurodivergent/disabled voices, especially concerning feelings of isolation & loneliness during the pandemic. I am also an artist, crafter and illustrator.

A special thank you to our WordView 2021 poets.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Imtiaz Dharker, says: "An idea that began as a response to the world shutting down has, joyfully, become a way to invite the whole world in. It has been exciting to see the entries come in from different countries, from marginalised voices, from people of all backgrounds who now know this space belongs to them. My fellow judges and I were struck by the immediacy of experience and commitment to language in the winning entries. It's also good to think that the rest of the entries will continue to be seen as an invaluable record of our times."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2021 playlist