Nicola Cayless.
Looking for light in words.

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❝ Poetry is the nude that stays nude.

— William Logan,”The Nude That Stays Nude”

'Of Mutability', Jo Shapcott. (Wow, yes, yes.)

I have now collated the first drafts of those that I know I want to be in my collection. This is where I am struggling. The editing and arranging phase begins. And now, the real question: what do I do with this? Do I send it out to competitions? Do I self-publish?

I find it so strange when people take a line from one of my pieces, and hold it to their chests, saying, yes, this one, yes, yes. I’m left here wondering what it is about that sentence that means so much to them: is it the words, is it the feel, the smell, taste, hope, meaning? I’m not sure, I’m not sure what I have to offer anyone but myself, and so I put my pieces out and never think that they will touch other people. I write because it means something to me, and sometimes at the end, I think, this is not what it was at the beginning, this is not what it meant to me, but they’re still words, they’re still words, and words mean everything. And then you, dear reader, find those words and you give them milk, and you take them home, and make them feel loved, and that’s what confuses and delights me, because I don’t know what my words mean but maybe, maybe, maybe, you do.

If I could fill my birdcage chest
with prismflies that burned and fluttered,
would the night be afraid? Would Winter melt
in terror? 

If within my wrists there lay a secret flame, 
as small as scars and hope,
and your lips were as kindle when pressed
to my skin, what then would follow
but a forest fire and sacred laughter? 

Together we will warm the frozen wastelands
of the human heart. Together we will watch the Gods weep
when their puppet-strings are set afire, and we are truly

❝ I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

— "Preludes", T.S. Eliot, Prufrock & Other Observations (1917)


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You are wonderful and alive and stunning.

(A sneaky little snippet from a poem I am working on for my (yet untitled) collection!) x
I might be running a little bit of a cute promotional competition for the title/subtitle of my book. Prizes would include letters and poems and potentially a free copy. Would you guys be interested in partaking in that?


Explore Thistle Magazine’s seventh issue, Summer Wilderness! Discover artist Edie Sunday, writers Nick Lantz and Daniel Stephensen, and fashion bloggers Q2Han. Live vicariously through explorer Jeanne Bare and artist Rosa Bonheur. And don’t forget to read your summer horoscope predicted by Madame Clairvoyant. Our biggest issue yet, you don’t want to miss out! Purchase your print/digital copy here:

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