Guest Poem by Rebecca Gethin

Rebecca Gethin has written 5 poetry publications. She was a Hawthornden Fellow and a Poetry School tutor. Vanishings was published by Palewell Press in 2020. She was a winner in the first Coast to Coast to Coast pamphlet competition with Messages. New poems appear in a variety of magazines. She blogs sporadically at

A Refuge

A family who nobody knew moved into the house
with no windows and a hole in the roof.

There was hay to sleep on and they collected sticks
from the forests on the mountain

to light a fire in the middle of the room,
kitchen chairs arranged in a circle of warmth.

They laid the table on the terrace with cutlery and plates
they found in the cupboard and sat down to lunch

on nothing. Not even a ghiro. They’d clink the glasses
and shout Chin Chin but had no wine.

They banged their spoons and knives on the plates
talked loudly of food they liked. When war broke out

they upped and left the village, so the stones in the walls
were lifted to repair damage in others.

Note: ghiro is the edible dormouse that Italian peasants used to have to eat