Yesterday, snow dusted London;
now the snowmen lie on their sides
like toppled pawns, surrendering.
Your limbs warming
beneath a black corona of curls
you say, who can I love today?
— from “Corona”
When you can live in a land of witches and unicorns and girls with capes, you can dream of whatever you want and drift in and out of the reality you don’t. You find yourself made without cause, and without an obvious direction. You fumble through Instagram and armchair activists just to be discarded, like old clothes. Sometimes old clothes are okay.
Becky Varley-Winter’s Heroines on the Blue Peninsula is uncomfortable, but familiar. It’s the wondering if we have purpose or if we are allowed to change, or if we are stuck with the who that we are even we are not who thought we could be. Because “If I name discomfort well enough / I might find comfort without lying….” Because the heart is tricky and a witch, and doesn’t always actually know what the heart wants.
We grow whether we like it or not. We rise in the morning. Sleep at night. We are born, and always dying. But long “Before birth and death / your hands first touched mine in the dark,” and eventually we find forgiveness and love and purpose on the Blue Peninsula.