Guest Poem by Isabel S. Miles

Born and raised in a Scottish mining village, Isabel Miles spent thirty years as a scientist then turned writer. Her poems and short stories have been published in Green Ink Poetry, Northwards Now, Shooter, East of the Web, Dreich and Acumen, among others. She is the author of a poetry pamphlet, Spent Earth (Mudfog Press). Her poems have featured in two anthologies and she has published one novel, Chosen, on Kindle. She lives in the North York Moors.


Potatoes, cherry trees and wheat begin in darkness,
as sunflowers do,
rooted in dank clay, eating ochre,
seeking light.

With brush for bow and canvases for instruments,
in colours only he had vision clean enough to see,
he played sonatas filled with blossoms
as lovely and as fragile as his mind
and swirling symphonies of stars.
His legacy to us is what he saw.

Did he paint God? He did believe in God at times.
He painted, always, what he saw.

But crows, black as despair,
a darkness living as the light,
swooped though his wind-tossed corn
to dim his blazing skies.

The paint he ate, the poison that he drank,
sharpened the fear and loneliness
that gnawed his sanity,
drained sunlight from his eyes
and turned his earthly paradise to hell.

The sunflower leaves a legacy of seeds
for crows to peck.