Leah Atherton is a linguist, poet and runner based in Birmingham, UK. She had poems about her adventures featured by iRunFar and Porridge magazines and Brum Radio Poets. Elsewhere, her work has appeared in Birmingham Art Gallery and on BBC Radio WM, and was included as part of the Beatfreeks Collective anniversary anthology, Wild Dreams and Louder Voices (2018, Verve Poetry Press)
She believes in strong coffee, campfire whisky and the power of muddy shoes.
A sky the colour of hope is the debut full collections from this incredible cross-country poet who writes as she runs – wonderfully.
Part memory box, part prayer, a sky the colour of hope charts the journey of a young woman navigating loss in its many faces, as she learns to choose her own road. Heavily inspired by her 2018 solo fastpack of the South West Coast Path in memory of her father, this collection is by turns light and aching, bitter and joyful as she moves through landscapes forever changed by the people she met along the way. A truly wonderful collection.
Let’s dance, you and me.
Leave the straight lines and the rules in the parking lot
and dare the wind to play catch up.
We’ll barrel our way down root-choked paths
and take corners too tight for our talent;
slog up climbs like we’re chasing redemption on every hilltop
And swear we find hope along every single-track we follow
where unanswered prayers make voltage pylons of our bones
and our legs start to buzz with the pent up wire and static.
Let’s fly into the wind until the rain makes our faces numb
and we will laugh and let the ice melt baptise the wrong out of our pasts
write our penance in mud track and shale
We’ll scrape ourselves raw and scoop ourselves out;
turn valleys into confessionals, thermos tea into communion wine
and make jack-o-lanterns of our haunted hearts to light our return.
You and I know that a house of healing
doesn’t need four walls or a roof when you have your feet in the cloud,
this thorn-scrape-peat-stain-hunt-grin cathedral of shadows and light
Come on let’s stand, you and me, on the shoulders of giants,
leave behind pieces of questions beat out on hillsides
so far apart only God can read them without skipping a line
Recited out by stubborn feet and tempest wills
we’ll follow the music over moor and fell, read answers in contours;
code-lines so far apart maybe God was the one who left them there
Let’s dance to the rhythm and drum and the reckless reels
of a landscape that sings to us in a language unwritten
until maybe, at last, we can follow the wild song back.