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Silver Branch series:

Marcelle Newbold


Marcelle Newbold’s writing explores place and inheritance. She has been Pushcart Prize nominated, shortlisted in the Walk.Listen.Create writing competition, and won the Poetry in the Arcades competition in 2020. Her poems have been published online by Ink Sweat & Tears, Iamb poet, and The Ekphrastic Review and in recent print anthologies by Black Bough Poetry, Maytree Press, Wild Pressed Books, Icefloe Press, and Indigo Dreams. She is managing editor of Nightingale & Sparrow literary press, and coordinator for Gloucester Poetry Festival. Marcelle lives in Cardiff, Wales where she trained as an architect.

Wassailing Spirits            (click title for audio)

I idle under the apple tree - warped limbs,

damp smell of green, dormant blooms.

Eventually they come: spoon and saucepan clanks;

grins and ciders, bright toes cajole, blunt fingers creak,

sweet hearts enjoy the blush of dusk.


And they greet me. They sing & dance & racket around,

voices conjure bounty, enchant praise, nurture the new.

From Black Bough Christmas-Winter edition 2021/22

Deep Breath           (click title for audio)

Door wide, ice twinkle,

you wait for soundless

breeze to reach your skin,

to lessen the gap between

hope and experience -

as dusk’s last breath

reluctantly closes the door.

Forthcoming Black Bough Christmas Winter 2022/23

Precious          (click title for audio)

And I wonder what I would leave for the Gods. 

For those who own this place,

their breath still present

thick within these liquid walls:

a blood stained needle, for sewing her dresses

an arrow, flint tipped for his heart

a boat, hollowed from ancient, for journeys end.  

From Black Bough Deep Time 2

Field margins          (click title for audio)

A hedge hag praises the scent of the moon,

lingers at the edge (of all things),

gathers poison in skirt heavy folds,

gloss thick spines lick perfect blue.

She congregates the discarded precious:

feather, wind fall stick, field mouse bone - 

conjures protection (for all things),

journeys to places concealed by the sun. 

Note: Hollies were frequently left uncut in hedges to obstruct witches who were known to run along the tops of hedges.

From Black Bough Christmas Winter edition 2020


Late for a meeting

She stands high up on the edge of the ocean, high above the tumbled down rocks, the froth, the foam, the darkness of the incandescent motion of a storm agitated sea.


Heavy waves focus on pounding the cliff, battering the now drenched defensive line of vertical wall, a million years of metaphoric promises to hold.  


Three boats observe, from a safe distance, dipping & bobbing. Candlelight reflects ghost faces, remnant of shredded sails rattle in the flickering.


She breathes, as she should. Gasping rhythmically, intermittently, for breath as the wind whips it vacant.


Her hair streams, a sea witch gliding – dress full with berries and fragrant greens. An offering is needed.


The weary boats impatiently bow. She decides to jump – arms spread –

wonders if she will fall or fly.

Exclusive to the Silver Branch series

A poem is requested at a wedding 

or funeral – prerequisite, 

an emotional verse -

deciphering the between.


When we stand together

on ceremony, why do we

wish to be lost to the ether? 

Exclusive to the Silver Branch series

With my last exhale on this Earth

I think of my father, as I always am (thinking of my father). Of how he would have so enjoyed this moment. The edge of everything – a storm – the sea colliding – a pirate moon. How he would have reminisced on his last breath: throwing a rope between us, drawing us closer. The wind blew and blew that afternoon, I knew it was here for him, and I told him, so he knew - he could not see out of the hospital window - so I pushed it open wide so he could feel the pull. 

Exclusive to the Silver Branch series

Ghosts   (click title for audio)


Windblown grass corrals

the strength of invisible,

wheat fields fill with whispers,

undulate to a current

between water and wind.

Exclusive to the Silver Branch series


Sometimes, after the rain desists and the ground varies between soggy and damp, the sun shying behind grey reflecting clouds, we wander to the sea edge. Boots on, scarves wrapped, tissues stuffed in pockets, Dad’s miner's jacket filled with chocolates. Front door closed, key hidden behind a geranium pot, tide tables checked, air tasted, we go.

We float downhill, not weighed this time by buckets, spades, picnic blankets – today the worm moon insists on quickness. Down through the wood (ash, holly, sycamore, beech) along the gravel path, snowdrop and song thrush edged, we emerge, fairy tickled and appetite ready.


This day the spring tide has retreated, exposed channel buoys display yellow bottoms. We are new on ancient, boot prints on sand where crabs usually scuttle. It’s a long way to the sea fringe via tumbled pebbles, scavenging gulls, mermaid’s purses hidden in laver seaweed, rivulets and rills finding their way home. Halfway there, mustard beach still sodden, a wide stream flows. Too wide to jump - eyes closed with hope; too deep to tiptoe with Mother’s fluffy shoes.

The others, carefree, stride out unworried by the incursion.


We stop to ponder, my sister and I, as Mother eyes the options: exposed toes paddle; the long way around, both discarded. And so all giggling already knowing the outcome, but unable to resist, my sister and I cross hands, pulling our matching woollen hats back from our weeping eyes, make an unstable chair for our Nefertiti, (both already weak with laughter), as Mother with usual verve, places her diamante gloved, day-glo arms round our shoulders, ready to be offered to the sun.

Exclusive to the Silver Branch series

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