Chris Ringrose

Chris Ringrose is a poet and literary critic who lives in Melbourne. His poetry has won awards in England, Canada and Australia, and he has published critical work on modern fiction, literary theory and children’s literature. He is the co-editor of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing and a poetry reviewer for the Australian Poetry Journal. His latest collection of poems is Palmistry (ICoE Press, 2019). Creative Lives, a collection of interviews with South Asian writers, was published in 2021 by Ibidem/Columbia University Press. His poetry website is



She listens all day
to the flapping of sheets on the line
the banging of the barn door

At evening, unpegs
the sweet-smelling washing.
An arrowhead of migrating geese
stirs a longing for elsewhere

Their honking
drifts faintly down, breath
speaking Earth’s subtle logic

Two years have passed
like the backwards shuffling of pages
as one searches for forgotten lines

She has shut down the news, knowing
that when the big thing happens
someone will knock on the door

Notes the silver trail, leading upwards.
Last night the snail scaled the wall
that the hound could not leap.


The way things are

The rain is talking to the night.
It’s blustered on the farmhouse panes
for centuries, and never blown itself out.
The trees are reined back by gales
then plunge their heads like horses.

Our farm is manhandled by the seasons:
plunged into an icy bucket of winter
hauled out spluttering into the towel of Spring
summer bristled in an upheaval of grass, crops and weeds
shaved by the blades of autumn.

Our cattle dung the earth;
the clouds scamper across East Yorkshire
to the North Sea or glower through the drizzle.
This is the way things are, year after year.

Tenants of earth and sky, raisers of stock,
we walk the bounds at evening with dog and gun,
smell pine resin in the place where we began.

Christmas Day’s a work day
when the grass beneath our feet
crackles like the icing
on the massive cake indoors.

Future farmers conceived to the sound
of hail that volleys on the bedroom wall
as the farm hauls itself
from season to season
and we run to keep up.
We speak to the trees.
The woods are slow to answer.

Servants of the soil,
we gather the eggs,
shoot the foxes and crows,
and walk into summer.
Sap pulses in the stalks, below
disintegrating dandelion clocks;
they, too, have to hand on life.

Pigshit and steam, and
this summer’s swallows
bolting from the stables
to wheel up and around
the insect-laden air.