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‘A Sonnet for Clay Eaters’

Clay crushed under calloused feet and cajoled by hopeful hands

is hurled into moulds and sun baked near cottonwood trees.

And so, parched bricks are made, one on top another, to build a home.

You squat inside, let terra red shadows swaddle your born-bright

who stares at you as if seeing God. She pitches arias that do not echo

and suckling at your breast, grows strong, your redemption

after all. Your present and your future.

Much later, you choose clay for her wedding gift.

Worked into bon bons to soothe hardship hunger pains,

increase the passion of her husband’s embrace,

suppress the nausea her pregnancy will bring,

fade freckled moles skewed on stretched skin.

Steeped in water, sipped during labour, clay, easing delivery

of the child who flies out and soul rockets to the stars.



Clare Hepworth-Wain was the winner of The Poetry School’s 24/7 Poetry Challenge, part of this year’s CAMPUS Digital Open Day.


  • Olivia Dawson

    You’ve got some fabulous images Clare. I especially like ‘terra red shadows’ and ‘arias that do not echo’. The poem has a lovely surreal quality.

  • Kim Moore

    Just catching up with these 24/7 poems. Fantastic! I love the soul rocket at the end. I don’t think we have enough souls in poetry nowadays! As C.S. Lewis said (apparently) – ‘you don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body’. Great poem.

  • Clare Hepworth-Wain

    Thank you Olivia. I enjoyed reading your poem too and really enjoyed the line: ‘like the WHAAM! of a pop art rocket’

  • Clare Hepworth-Wain

    Thanks Kim
    I have enjoyed reading your ‘log book’ and your latest article ‘a room of ones own’ was really insightful and thought provoking. The relationship we have with the space we live in and the space we allow for ourselves in order to write… the whole time / space dynamic and how we manage to carve out little bits of both and how they differ for each of us. Hmm…fascinating.

  • P A Livsey

    A well deserved winner of 24/7

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Image Credits:

Image: Florida Beach Walk

Image credit: Mike