Babes in the Wood by Maeve Henry

By Maeve Henry on January 21, 2019 in Poetry

Image via USFWS

‘Babes in the Wood’ was commended in the 2018 Wasafiri New Writing Prize ‘Poetry’ category.


Babes in the Wood

They have almost forgotten their own names,

brother clutching sister’s hand. Birds devoured


their trail of crumbs. There’s no way back

through open borders, barbed wire, muddy


fields, roads, sand, the sea. They wake to rain

dripping off the trees, exchange night’s gifts:


she slept in Rima’s flat in Mosul, he tasted kebabs

in Konak Square, when they sold cigarettes


and ran if the police came. Things lost on the journey:

passports, her shoes, the grown-ups. When the wood


stops they will be at Calais.  It’s a dream their mother

had. England. It tingles on the tongue like gingerbread.


Maeve Henry was born in Dublin and grew up in the north east of England.  She now lives and works in Oxford, and writes both poetry and fiction.  Her poetry has been published by Mslexia, Ink, Sweat and Tears, and Live Canon, among others. More of her work can be read on her website,