‘most of your mother’s songs are still worth singing’

If you’re finding that lockdown is having an effect on your concentration, we recommend you turn to poetry. One of BooksfromScotland’s favourite poetry publishers is Stewed Rhubarb, and in C D Boyland’s User Stories, they’ve given us another cracking collection. Here’s a taste of what to expect.


Poems taken from User Stories
By C D Boyland
Published by Stewed Rhubarb


The Caryatid

shift yourself
grow dragon tailsport feathers

inherit new ways of
thinking, borrow sharp
new teeth, gaze cautiously
into the shadowy corners of
your own capacity

learn to come back from
the dead; it’s a good trick
much easier these days &
will get you follows

you once thought some
things would never

change  is           to living what

not to                  change is to dying

buy this diy chrysalis kit
off the interwebby, ransack
your gran’s sewing box
& make a pair of wings

steal the colours, if you have to
you’ll find best turquoise
in boys’ eyes, best jade in
haters’ scowls

all you like
young whippersnapper
grow armour if you
must, be proud of
scars, get nimble on
your feet but don’t

most of your mother’s songs are still
worth singing


The Doll’s House

surround yourself with objects || to keep their ghost
away || a pair of gloves || this leather belt || a coffee
cup they never touched || bought new when you were
‘starting over’ || masks that you put on || close fitting ||
buttoned at the neck || never to be exposed to music ||
only worn at night || taught not to use the unsafe words
|| like ‘I will be faithful’ || or ‘I know what I want’ ||
maps re-drawn || whole territories marked ‘here be
phantoms’ || places where their feet have trod || across
your belly || through the garden of your thoughts || marks
their tongue has left || the taste of certain streets ||
is different now || the air has mouths || whispering things
best unheard || make a doll’s house of yourself || empty it
of furniture & move in || wander all the patient & hungry
rooms || keep a saucer of red milk || beside the door


The Notebook

we speak
knowing that      neither of us
will remember   what was said

one of us             talks, the other
writes down       all they say

I wanted to look       over some of the
conversations           that we’d had

I read back          through our
notebook &        discovered that

you’d torn           of the
pages                   out

‘what’s this?’                   I asked holding
out the notebook            showing you the

torn edges          where the
missing               had been

you took the                     notebook from
me & wrote down           ‘what’s this?’

& then


User Stories by C D Boyland is published by Stewed Rhubarb, priced £5.99

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