Fighting Words


I’ve had a wonderful time as writer-in-residence at Gosport Gallery where I’ve been made to feel extremely welcome by staff and visitors. Last night we celebrated the end of my residency and the launch of ‘Fighting Words’ – an anthology of creative writing inspired by the Artists Rifles exhibition. It was a wonderful evening that brought together many of the lovely people I’ve had the privilege of working with over the last few months. Huge thanks to all those who came, particularly those who read some of their work from the anthology. It was very moving to hear how art from World War I still has the ability to inspire such strong feelings a hundred years later.

Here’s a final poem I wrote as part of my residency –

The Pill Box

Lithograph, Paul Nash

by Aoife Mannix


The tree looks to you like a man shot,

falling backwards with his arms thrown up.

His eyes gasping at the firework display

of tossed earth, crumbled walls.

His stomach stripped of leaves,

his last words green shoots

drowned in rubble. Naked barbarity

a bitter pill sewn in the barren ground.

The taste of chalk in your mouth,

the bones of a boy who once loved elms,

their grace and elegance now twisted

into paper ruins etched across wasteland.



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