Guest Poem by Kathleen McPhilemy

Kathleen McPhilemy grew up in Belfast but now lives in Oxford. She has published four collections of poetry, the most recent being Back Country, Littoral Press, 2022. She also hosts a poetry podcast magazine, Poetry Worth Hearing This poem is from Acumen 107.


Christmas Day, or a day like Christmas
from a window in a different city
snow-capped rooves, snow-capped ruins
jagged at first light.

Beyond its boundaries
comfortless, uncoloured,
the hummocked fields stretch out
silent with heavy breathing.

A choice in what we wait for:
this time the soldier wakes
when dawn’s pink fingers tickle
riffling through the tents;

he reaches for his gun
it liquefies like butter
he looks into his heart
to see it warm with love

until the power of kindness
melts launchers in their silos
repurposed into tractors
that tend the ravaged land.