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Two poems by Rebecca Varley-Winter

Mount Caburn to Lewes

Ah, nature. We’re very lucky in Lewes to be nestled into the South Downs, with beautiful views of rolling hills round every corner. With that in mind here’s something nice for the weekend. A lovely poem in Obsessed with Pipework called ‘Clouds’ caught my attention and I tracked down the poet, Rebecca Varley-Winter, who kindly agreed to let me reproduce ‘Clouds’ and ‘Hill’ on this blog, for your delectation. Don’t say I don’t spoil you.


I am not godly
but when they move like this
on a hill I’ve seen daily
and walked over antlike
and, wreathing, make of its reaches
a land never travelled,
deep in mist, so softly distant
that in the apple gold light
it condenses to a myth
or figment of the ground,
shifting, departing already –
by water and earth
I bow down, I bow down.


Home being this hill,
lover’s hip,
day lengthening on it,
stretching a shape
where thought drapes,
the shade of this place –
without this hip bone
shoulderblade twist,
a grass wisp
tuned to the gold shift
on a known shape, heavy,
what would I be? Swift
the wind could pass
straight through my heart
without shelter, at last

Both ‘Clouds’ and ‘Hill’ first published in Obsessed with Pipework 62.

About Rebecca Varley-Winter:
I’ve been writing poems for ten years. ‘Clouds’ and ‘Hill’ were both inspired by a shapely hill near where I grew up on the Isle of Wight, and a lot of my poetry is rooted in that landscape. Lately I divide my time between London and Cambridge, where I’m working on a PhD on modernist poetry; I also make enthusiastic noises about music at It’s good to share, so here are the names of some young poets I admire: Ollie Evans, Amy De’Ath, Helen Mort, Sarah Howe, Scott Annett, Justin Katko, Mendoza, Laura Kilbride, Holly Pester, Jessica Pujol, Nat Raha, Matthew Gregory, Kate Tempest.

Image: ‘Mount Caburn to Lewes’ by Sue Haseltine

Published inPoems

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  1. Yes, you have spoiled us! I especially like ‘Hill’ and the body images in it.

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Robin Houghton 2021