Storm Petrel

Beach clouds dark dark clouds


Oh take your pity elsewhere,

landlocked stranger,

I am still waiting to burn.


Yes, I was the soul bird

of a dozen drowned sailors,

was wave-walker, weathervane,

Black Mary’s chicklet,

harbinger of stormy seas,

pelagic stow-away.


They feared me,

called me satanita,



I was meant to end at the hand of men

who know that one

tarred string

is enough to tell the bird

from the candle,

the witch from the flame.


But take your sad eyes elsewhere,

stranger, listen –

one day the storm will find me,

and I’ll blaze.


Poem by Laura Theis

Laura Theis is the winner the 2020 Brian Dempsey Memorial Pamphlet Competition, the 2020 Mogford Short Story Prize, the 2018 Hammond House International Literary Award for Poetry and was highly commended for the 2020 Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize and the 2020 Acumen Poetry Competition. Recent short-listings include the Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize judged by Jackie Kay, the Blue Nib Chapbook Award, the Yeovil Prize for Poetry ​as well as two Live Canon International Poetry Awards.