Julie Whitby



An Oriental Eye


The oven has an oriental eye

which looks beyond its squat platitude –

dirt-encrusted – I never noticed that before.

and how far does this eye see?

Just to the cobwebs and the pipes?

Or beyond them, through the wall

that’s waiting for the builder’s paw,

and over the gulls who always king and queen it

on the roofs that hedge in our longings,

even to the dream-encircling sea?


So does it stare compulsively out,

out of its narrow window, as I am prone to do?

Since only then may its dingy fate


and a sky glamorous, spinning with clouds who

could be anything,

anyone, and are free,

enter in

Cherchez le prince en ciel -

did you play with those magical cards as a child?


For what we don’t receive be thankful:

the oven has no right of reply.






Ugly orange neon

cranes its neck forwards like

some stout, middle-aged hag

hunting for that bargain

in a dismal church hall.

Or an unwanted girl

at a dance: the dance of the street

where all other eyes flash

that quick serach,

knowledge of desire.

Girl, hag, neon, street:

all meet in me, each instant.



Julie Whitby © 2014

Holy Rose



Snow Rose of Macedon

Rose of the morning,

Rise from your radiant bed.

Let the Rose Mass be said –

the white rose kicking heavenwards

as did that rare Teresa of Avila

who danced in ecstasy

before the altar.



‘Unveil white blossomer’ commands the sun.

‘Daylight becomes your candid nakedness’.


Now by the candle’s flame we see

the white retiring Rose en déshabille.

Her petals part, revealing what’s to come,

Bright as that birth star over Bethlehem.


Snow Rose of Macedon,

Rose of the evening.



Rotting Fabrics



Menacing green apples,

heartless skin of lover

smooth as lychees, unperturbed:


tinned. Wayward images that

wander. Will not form a

purple sea: crash their symbols,


froth and foam restore me,

hurl a stormy wonder -

no red lace petticoat


lies empty. They're nibbling at

my verse. Menacing, sour apples,

tea-bags, coffee-skins of lovers; matt.




Julie Whitby © 2014