Four new poems by Annwen Bates

The Johannesburg Review of Books presents previously unpublished poetry by Annwen Bates.


Private and confidential

Between 7 and 7.54
between the front door
and the stairs
it was discarded
and retrieved,
enveloped and received.



This afternoon it felt good
to hear the paper snap and sear
with each swift wrench
from hands made mighty
by the fuel to remove:
I tore up our letters.


Red Disas

At the falls
he was already ill.
But the morphine drip
as far across the bank
as those
hidden flower faces in
the damp and shrouded crags.


Shall we talk in private

Dans un couloir
Au revoir

Dans un couloir
here issued the Director
notice, so sorry

the banana listened in

they three stood
in the corridor
a listening banana

dans un couloir
the notice
pas de trois

dans un couloir


Previously unpublished, © Annwen Bates, 2019

  • Annwen Bates grew up in Cape Town, has worked in Grahamstown, Poland and Brazil and currently lives in London. Her writing has been published in Carapace, Type/Cast, Party In Your Eye-Socket and an anthology edited by Benjamin Zephaniah. She has read at London locations such as the Poetry Café, the Troubadour Café and Keats House. Compositions inspired by Annwen’s poems have been performed in Cape Town, New Jersey, USA and Brasilia. You can read more of her work at Beaded Quill.

The JRB Poetry Editor is Rustum Kozain

Header image: Nicholas Turland/Flickr

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