Bethan Roberts – Two poems


Years on from closed curtains and clacking teeth,
Groaning in the dark; he digs the gardens growing
Fruits, flowers, vegetables. Vegetation
For all seasons, for all uses, the ornamental
Alongside the agricultural, fancy and functional,
Practical and pretty. The seeds may lie
In trodden dirt, but already, each day,
They are straining for the sun.
Big brother you are tender to the flowers
As the world never was to us or others,
Still time shows that all things change and all things
With love, with hard earth broken by toil, can grow
– Take off the graveclothes and let him go! –
He is coming home, and the spring is at his heels.



It doesn’t always feel like you
Are gone I keep expecting
To see you on my newsfeed picture perfect,
Or on the corner of a grey terrace, smoking,
Or emerging from the ginnel by our old school to say that
It was a joke, it was a mistake,
That you saw something you shouldn’t,
And had to spend ten years
In the witness protection programme,
Anything, anything. Please,
Wake me at three a.m. emerging
From the blackness in muddied graveclothes,
And tell me how four score angels with flaming torches
And sophisticated geophysical imaging equipment
Came in the night to bring you back, tell me anything,
I am ready, I am waiting, to believe it.


Bethan Roberts
Bethan Roberts was born in Pendle and currently lives in York, where she recently completed an MA in Poetry and Poetics. During her time as an undergraduate in Oxford here’s work appeared in the Cherwell and Spleen.