Art and Literature for Africa and the World

This Poem Must Be About

This Poem Must Be About

something of unbearable consequence             something massive, like
the abscission of daffodils      (in a green glass vase on a windowsill)
and the way they embody a matter of great importance          possibly
the sadness of the ageing process                beauty’s brief skin         or
our inevitable deaths                 otherwise
it runs the risk of being just another poem about flowers         Just
another poem about         their overwhelming scent           their dust

spent for no reason        impotent on the sill’s embroidered cloth
The water’s false hope of life everlasting           The unquenchable thirst
that their poor yellow heads will never understand         This must not be
just another poem about wilting       or confusion at the absence
of rain       that they somehow still sense     their petals slanted
toward the day, politely asking for light         My mother
hated me, I tell them            They answer        yes, my dear.     We know






Jane Burn is a working class, pansexual, autistic person, poet, artist and essayist, who lives with her family in an off-grid rural community for eight months of the year. Places in which her essays have appeared include the Rebecca Swift Foundation, Persona Journal, The Friday Poem and The Alchemy Spoon. Since 2014, Jane’s poems have won, been placed, shortlisted, or longlisted in seventy competitions. Her poems are widely published, in magazines such as The Rialto, Poetry Wales, Butcher’s Dog and Poetry London, as well as being anthologised by presses including Seren, Arachne Press, Broken Sleep and Macmillan. Jane has an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University, where she was awarded the 2022 academic prize for best overall performance. In 2022, Jane explored her neurodivergent writer’s thoughts and theories, funded by Arts Council England, and is currently putting these ideas into a book. In 2023 she was awarded a grant by the Royal Literary Fund. Jane is currently part of the Wonky Animals Poetry Collective. Her pamphlets and collections have been published by Indigo Dreams, Wyrd Harvest, KFS Press, Talking Pen and BLERoom Press. Her latest collection, Be Feared, is available from Nine Arches. She hosts workshops both in person and online.


Richard Thomson is a South African multi-disciplinary artist who composes different art forms together, depicting different versions of the same story. It’s always the story of humanity yearning for peace, love, and unity. What it means to be in this dualistic world. How to encode the light shining from Source and anchor it here and now through creativity. He has shown work at the Aardklop Festival and at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival. Experience some more of his creations here: