New Year’s Eve – a poem by Carolyn Oulton

New Year’s Eve

For a friend who died, a friend who used to love me
and a friend who taught me something about silence.

People don’t talk about death.
She’d wanted to come on that walk.
Keep changing the subject
when it’s suggested
again and again.

This is a stage
of silence, its edges
chipping where thought
breaks off and dries
scratched faint, unreadable.

The Christmas card
that gives up saying Will
be less rubbish this year
will remain unanswered.
No one will notice.

This is where words
land and break on each other,
dusty as blood. But silence
is where it will happen
if it’s to happen at all.

I covered my friend in words
I couldn’t see through.
God just whispered Ok.
Years later I saw exactly what
I’d been holding in the dark.


Carolyn Oulton has been published in magazines including Acumen,Artemis, Envoi, The Frogmore Papers, from the edge, Ink Sweat & Tears,Nine Muses, Orbis, The Poetry Village,The Moth and Seventh Quarry. Her most recent collection Accidental Fruit is published by Worple Press. Her website is at

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