Maggie Ball


Common or garden poets #7 Gillian Swain inviting Magdalena Ball


Garden Poem  

 for Magdalena Ball   

                                                                                                             …today the purple

                                                                                                                                and the scarlet bells

                                                                                                                 ring in

                                                                                                            Irina Frolova, ‘Lightly’


­­­Caught up in tangerine

colour like persimmon


soft and crumpled

ornamental pomegranate


a false promise on these petals

all forgiven.


This fiery red

too delightful to mind


your step

soft soil after rain


slip and sink into this

sweaty spring.


All the notes in green

turn and curl


hang fresh, new

shadow dance


under the canopy

spiders sling afternoon silk.


Train your eye

slalom through sunset webs


Learn quickly.


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Alloy, Usually Hardened response to “How Would You Like…”)

Alloy, Usually Hardened

(response to “How Would You Like…”)

This is what you call joy

created through an amalgam

of death and rhythm

an admixture of metals

in a city nothing more

than concrete and dreams

built from frozen seconds.

Kodak Instamatic, a birthday gift

which only captured black and white.

I could tell from your face


in a way I would not see again

even on the third, fourth, fifth marriage

your finger heavy with the weight of 

so many rings

that I was dancing

twirling like a clumsy ballerina

just outside the boundary of the frame. 

I’m still dancing

no more graceful than I was then

caught in the suede fringe of your 

famous jacket.

Just behind you, behind him

is a couple kissing

against a winter tree

no leaves, just a ghost of a tree

a ghost of love.

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Magdalena’s response to “Is this the Azure Kingfisher”


Białowieża Forest, primeval

weaving dark foliage 

through her dreams.

There were no words for the smell

or feel of soft moss on a fallen trunk.

It lived nowhere now

except her childhood

which was not a place

or even a time anymore

lost in a humectant bubble


Nothing could be more permanent

than something lost

the Azure Tit she once found

its tiny white belly

still warm

the soft blue of the wings.

They don’t make blue like that anymore

The ghosts of bison and elk,

wild boar, hovered in her memory

like the emperor oak, fallen

damp bark beneath her feet.

Here there was no bark, no soft crunch,

only concrete. 

The high pitched dee dee dee

of the Tit’s song

replaced by tram clank and train rumble

children yelling

a continuous murmur

through the urgent motion 

of present tense

like a small bird, drawing her back. 

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Magdalena Ball

Magdalena Ball is a novelist, poet, reviewer and interviewer, and is the Managing Editor of Compulsive Reader, a literary review site that has been running for some 23 years. Her interview podcast, Compulsive Reader Talks, has over 150 wonderful interviews with the likes of Maria Tumarkin, Ben Okri, and John Banville, to name just a few.  She has been widely published in literary journals, anthologies, and online, and is the author of several published books of fiction and poetry. Her Flying Island book, High Wire Step, was published in 2018. Her most recent publication is Unreliable Narratives, published by Girls on Key Press in 2019.  A new poetry book, Density of Compact Bone, is forthcoming from Ginninderra Press in 2021. 

A sample poem from High Wire Step, “not rush hour”, is below. Some of Magdalena’s more recent (draft) work, as well as a long-running conversation with Kit Kelen can be found at:

To find out more about Magdalena’s other works, or for the most recent publications, visit:

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