Featured poems

This autobiographical poem triggered the transition from poetry being an intimate act whispered behind closed doors to the public roar of performance poetry. I’ll always be especially fond of her for that reason.

Life Model

Breath creeps over the fullness of my bottom lip,

slipping within me, shallow and sustained.

I ease it down past the rigid boards of my ribcage.

Clinging to its spectral tail with determined teeth.

It resurfaces and coils around my tongue.

The haughty tilt of my breasts and the balance of my frame,

unaltered by this measured motion.

My body, alert yet gentle in its rigidity

is captured in fast flurries of charcoal,

softly apologetic pencil lines

and the assertive precision of ink.

This teacher, more considerate than others

has positioned a heater beside my naked form.

The welcome warmth softens my nipples.

Lifting my pubic hair like fronds of seaweed

yielding to a loving current.

He describes

“the exquisite curve that runs from breast to hip”

and the words stoke the embers of my pride

until my cheeks are licked by fire.

He speaks of caressing my contours with line and shade.

I feel each stroke,

tender and urgent against my motionless skin.

The crescent of observers see my body,

in its most natural exposed state.

In turn, I witness their intimacy with art

and the soft underbelly of their ambition.

They are the ones who are truly naked.

© Holly Daffurn 2015

This poem featured in ‘Under the Fable’ magazine. Artist Gabriella Gardosi also asked if she could display the words on the wall of her new studio. A real honour. You can read more about Gabriella’s work on my Projects & Publications page.

Artists with dirty fingers

I like my artists filthy

restless fingers ink-drenched

the arid kiss of terracotta crumb

like your hands are the landscape

where your soul settles


every still life is a dialogue

in my mind


I don’t observe beauty

I articulate it


I love that you reel-off-your-machine-gun-fire-fury-of-worded-bullets-with-such-sharpness-and-grace-when-the-spotlight-forms-a-halo-above-you

but your mouth

searches for all the right words

in your snatched



I like my artists filthy

stories that spew with horrific emotion

reality & the grotesque decay of life

come to me paint-smeared

your fingertips dense with use

rosin-dusted trousers


Tap your fingertips to mundanity

let every tabletop be your masterpiece;

as you seek out the soundtrack

that feeds your life


I like my art blood-streaked and raw

the roaring in the vocal

the chisel cruel enough to cut bone

your world is framed & shot


as you pervert the rule of thirds

into exquisite fractals


Just weaving to the bar to buy a second coffee

is a dance to you

your tip toe trip graceful against the endless grey of the floor


Your fingers nibbled by needles

your mind a canvas of chaos & colour


Crowds become orchestral

you draw out crescendo

with each grandiose gesture


I like my artists oblivious of audience



where the line between the canvas

and the hand

does not exist


The thrill as you reveal each

new piece

of art

and all I can see

is your eyes


© Holly Daffurn 2015

This piece is one of the collection of spoken word poetry that I wrote as part of a commission for Apples & Snakes. More information, links to the podcast and the full collection of poetry can be found on my page – ‘Both Sides of The Sky.’


You were born on the kitchen table

spewed into life

on a tide of blood and shit

flooding against the mug rings

reminders of the desperate comfort of tea

your chubby limbs beating out against the glassy solidity

that was bitten by the pen knib

barely protected by the hymen of paper

virginal white

his last words

still traceable

her fingertips find them nightly

now she arches against the stability of the wood

and draws you to her

you so wide-eyed and alien

smeared with newness

she prays that you will be like your father

in all ways…but one

you were born on the kitchen table

where his fingerprints

still linger

© Holly Daffurn 2015

Published by hollydaffurn

Freelance writer, author and poet

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