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~ Iris Anne Lewis ~

Iris Anne Lewis was born in the Rhondda, Wales. She writes poetry and short stories. Her work has featured at the Cheltenham Literary Festival and the Bradford on Avon Arts Festival. She has recently been awarded 1st prize in the Gloucestershire Poetry Society Competition and is published in magazines and anthologies.


Iris is an active participant in local poetry events and open mics. Her journey into creative writing started with a week’s residential course at Ty Newydd, the national writers’ centre of Wales. Her work has been published online and in print, most recently in Artemis, Black Bough Poetry, Ink, Sweat and Tears and (forthcoming) The High Window.  In 2018, she founded the Cirencester Poetry Group and 2020 marked her sixth appearance at the Cheltenham Literature Festival as a prize winner. 

Twitter: @IrisAnneLewis

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"Our connection with landscape, history, prehistory, myth and legend are themes which are threaded through my writing. I try to hone my words so that sound and image combine to produce a poem that can be enjoyed on several levels. I admire poetry that is elusive but accessible and hope that my own work allows my readers to engage with it creatively, bringing to it meanings of their own."

Swan Song in the Geissenklösterle Cave


His fingers hold the bone

of my wing, carve holes.


Firelight flickers around rock walls.

He brings me to his mouth, gently blows.


Breath on bone flows.

Melody flutes through the cave.


Mute no longer, I sing.

From Black Bough: Deep Time, volume 1.

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The White Horse of Uffington


Ancient litanies, wind-thin,

whistle round the coombs

of Dragon Hill.

Antler picks, flint knives,

bronze-headed axes

cut and gouge the chalk.




In a half-remembered ritual,

men and women in 

jeans and tee-shirts

gather and kneel.


Now tools of steel

hammer the chalk,

sculpt the goddess, 

scour the horse.



Notes: The White Horse of Uffington is a prehistoric hill figure cut into the chalk downs overlooking the Vale of the White Horse. Dating from the Bronze Age, it has been regularly maintained over millennia by the local community gathering periodically to clean the horse-goddess of accumulated soil and weeds, a process known as scouring.

From Black Bough: Deep Time 2

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Iris's favourite walk is along a stretch of the Ridgeway, where, within an hour, she can visit the Stone Age long barrow Wayland’s Smithy, the Iron Age hill fort Uffington Castle and the Bronze Age White Horse of Uffington, a hill figure cut into the chalk hillside.


 Lleu                                               Blodeuwedd  


Green woe of winter –

I yearned for her

 I was rooted in moss,

soil and water

Green womb of spring –

I conceived her


I stemmed from the woods,

the heath, the meadow


Green warmth of summer –

I conjured her


I was plucked from the branch,

the stalk, the shoot


Oak tassels –

a caress on the skin


Red buds like drops

of blood

Broom blossom –

radiant as solstice sun

A smell to tame wild horses

and dogs

Meadowsweet –

a bridal froth of white

A syrup of balm to soothe

the pain


I strew the blooms

on the sheets of the bed

Stirred the petals, sculpted

and fashioned

A maiden

A woman

Published for the first time with the Silver Branch project

Japanese Garden


Willow weeps green tears.

Water bleeds through gravel.

Grass blades sharpen.


A weed-fringed pond,

an arching bridge.

Perched on wood, a crow


A wise man watches.

Bamboo beats on sun-chilled stone.

A geisha dances,

her tempo slow.


First published in Black Bough Poetry, Issue 3

The Star in the East



blooms in the dawn-dusk sky


Trees with bare-black-boughs

guide the way


Beyond the horizon, hidden,

a star looms



First published in Black Bough Poetry, Christmas and Winter, Volume 1.

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