Clair Chilvers

Clair Chilvers was a cancer scientist, and latterly worked for the UK National Health Service.
She divides her time between writing and volunteering for the charity Mental Health Research UK that she co-founded. She lives in Gloucestershire, UK.

She has had poems published in online and print magazines including Agenda, Allegro, Amaryllis, Artemis, Atrium, the Ekphrastic Review, Impspired,
Ink Sweat and Tears, the Poetry Atlas, Sarasvati and Snakeskin. She won second prize in the Poetry Kit Ekphrastic Competition 2020 and her poems have
been longlisted or commended in the Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Prize 2020, and Poetry Kit Competition 2020.
Her first collection When We Come Out of the Darkness (Frosted Fire) will be published in 2021. @cedc13

The Yacht

My room on the quay
a stove, a bed with shelves above
a hook for my clothes
everything shipshape 
the window floor to ceiling 
overlooks the harbour
beyond it the open sea
today it is calm, blue
the horizon a faint line of blue on blue
a fishing boat chugs out busily 
piled high with lobster pots
beyond it a yacht becalmed

last night the wind howled
I could see nothing but the white of the spray
breaking over the harbour wall 
caught by the street lights

I was that yacht
buffeted by waves
breaking over the bow
under staysail, alone, 
willing myself to resist 
the sanctuary of the harbour
on a lee shore.

Jane poses as Persephone

(inspired by Proserpina- Dante Gabriel Rosetti)
I lay awake in my room above the stables
thinking of the man I met that night.
I rolled his name around my tongue – 
Dante Gabriel Rosetti
They seduced me by their promises
of a world away from the stink and steam, 
of a life unfettered;
to be their model, mistress, muse.

Rosetti told me of Persephone
of her seduction by Pluto
who let her free, 
but she had eaten the pomegranate seeds. 
I always wondered – 
did he come to me in the summer of that year,
the year after he had painted me, 
to make her story ours?


The faded snapshot marks a page
in an old travel guide to Southern Africa.
She is taken side-face wearing a cream linen suit
a white shirt and a solar topee.
In the background the light aircraft
that will fly her to a remote camp
in the Okavango Delta.
She will end up at Victoria Falls
kayak down the Zambesi
avoiding hippos and crocodiles
as she negotiates the rapids.  

That evening she will wear
a backless sequinned dress
to dance dangerously on the terrace 
by starlight.
On a dimly-lit hotel wall
she will find photos of her great-uncles,
who escaped an English seaside town
to sweat in crumpled khaki shorts
the hotel half-built behind them,
and understand her wanderlust.

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