Margaret Royall

Margaret’s work has featured widely in print and online, recently in Black Bough Poetry, The Dawntreader, Impspired, Dreich and anthologies by Crumps Barn Books.  She has six published books: 2 poetry collections and 3 pamphlets plus a memoir in prose and verse. She has won or been shortlisted in several competitions including jointly winning Hedgehog Press’ collection competition in May 2020. Her memoir ‘The Road To Cleethorpes Pier, ‘ published by Crumps Barn Studio has sold successfully on three continents. She has also featured as a guest on various popular blogs. Her latest publication, ‘Immersed in Blue’, from Impspired Press, was released in January 2022.

A regular performer at open mic events, she leads a Nottinghamshire women’s poetry group and can be found on the following platforms:




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Swimming wild

There are no other swimmers here. I am alone with
the wild call of nature. 

Dressed in virginal nakedness,
limbs a-quiver in the chill of the year’s dawn,
I dive into the depths.
On the bank pale nymphs twirl in calico gowns.
I hear the swoosh of fine gauze netting.

My skin pimples with miniature rosebuds;
flaxen curls unfurl like a banner behind me;
I am an angel drowning in pleasure.

Tiny translucent spheres bubble from my mouth,
I prick them with my kettle-black thorns,
sink their bold intentions….. pop!

Across the lake a lone yacht with jazz-hand sails
scythes the surface like a child’s skimmed pebble,
its belly tickling Neptune’s beard,
burning a fiery sunset into the reed beds.

Breaking the Spell

This house, this ruin, Grandpa’s long-held secret.
Ice inside the windows, arctic cold so fierce my skin 
morphs from pink to purple.

I cling to his arm, stretch my frame to its tallest reach,
watch our smoky breath drift upwards.

In the half light I see ghoulish shapes on the walls,
stealthy movements       maybe dead people returning?

Wait, could that be an old dog, a devoted pet?
I think I hear Grandpa murmur a name,
Brutus      or maybe Jasper? 
There could be monsters lurking here, waiting to pounce..

I long for home. Anything but this …
warm embers in the dog grate,
familiarity    comfort    a mug of hot cocoa 
crumpets toasted on the fire..

Averting my gaze I hide in the ashen folds
of Grandpa’s Abercrombie.
Let’s go home now please. I’m scared.

But he is resolute. 
Courage, my child. This is my ancestral home.
When a seventh generation child enters, the curse will lift..
You are the one chosen by destiny.

I shudder, let go his hand, turn to flee….

Yet now someone is speaking to me,
tapping my cheek, smiling down at me.
Time to wake up Charlie! Your appendix is out.. 

A white witch performs healing for a sick child

Around the wood she walks, 
invokes the lore of three times three,
first widdershins, holding him in her heart, 
speaking sotto voce.
On the damp air wood sprites catch
her incantations sown as seed 
on fallow ground.

The distant night owl hoots, 
bats tear at her hair,
but never will she quit her quest 
while the night queen reigns.
She gazes at distorted silhouettes
of devil-cloned shrubs and trees,
conjures healing through her third eye.

Tapping the gnarled trunks, she
holds close the golden talisman,
runs eager hands over knotted bark,
silently counting one to seven, eyes closed, 
to better transmute the wisdom 
written on secret runic stones.
She feels his sickness start to drain.

Buoyed by the pale moon’s smile
she now sets down her effigy
at the base of the hundred year oak - 
a doll of straw with rosy cheeks and elfin eyes…
then skirting round the quercus’ girth
she holds the sick child close in prayer;
lets Magicke work its salve of restoration.

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