Featured Writer: Olive Ritch

We are delighted to welcome Olive Ritch as our Featured Writer. As her biography shows, Olive is a distinguished poet and editor (not many poets get into the prestigious Poetry Review or are broadcast on Radio 4). Her subtly unsettling poem below,The Hand Game, rewards close reading.

Olive M. Ritch is an award-winning poet from Orkney. She now lives in Aberdeen and her work has been published in many literary magazines, anthologies and websites, including Poetry Review, Agenda, Gutter, New Writing Scotland, The Poetry Cure, and In Protest: 150 Poems for Human RightsShe was co-founding editor of Causeway / Cabhsair(published by the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen) and co-editor of More Medical Remedies: Creative Writing for Medical Students. She has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She hopes to publish a pamphlet / collection in the near future. You can read more of her work in the Scottish Poetry Library.

The Hand Game

Let not thy left hand know
what thy right hand doeth –
and let not your mother
hide their secrets in silence,
for only she knows the stories that lie
in the lines of the palms
of your hands. She knows
but cannot speak the words, tongue-tied.
Slumped in her chair,
she takes from your hand
the medicine, three-times daily
and smells your nicotine breath
when you tuck her in at night
before switching off the light. Sometimes
you creep back in and your mother knows
the colour of your filial love
from the tone of the touch
of your Hyde or Jekyll hand.

© Olive Ritch 2019

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