The deeper I go into Mary MacRae’s poems the more spacious my own world becomes. Anne Cluysenaar

The English poet Mary MacRae died of cancer in 2009. Were it not for the love and commitment of her poet-friends at Second Light Network, we might not have the gift of her poetry to savor in our quiet moments. Poet, teacher and consultant to Second Light Network, Myra Schneider  wrote and asked me to let you know that they have established a website for Mary.

The wide range of poems in Inside the Brightness of Red includes poignant work written when she was terminally ill but also beautiful lyric poems about childhood, youth, relations with parents, marriage, friendship and her responses to art and nature. Dilys Wood

Mary’s love of life … of nature, birds, flowers, gardens, art and family and friends are evident in precise multicolored layers of her work. She was published in several prestigious literary magazines.

Her enormous warmth and zest for life were balanced with a sensitivity and deep compassion that invited many to confide in her, came into play in her perceptive and incisive criticism and pervaded her poems. Lucy Hamilton

Mary won two poetry prizes: Scintilla magazine’s Long Poem Competition and a joint first prize in the Second Light Poetry Competition. Her work is included in the second Poetry School Anthology, Entering the Tapestry (Enitharmon Press 2003) and in Four Caves of the Heart (Second Light Publications, 2004). Second Light published two collections of Mary’s poems: Inside the Color of Red and As Birds Do. 

To read a small selection of Mary MacRae’s poems – of special note is Jury – link HERE.  You can buy Mary’s two poetry collections through the website.

With permission I published the following poem before on this blog and I post it again as an example of Mary’s work. Please enjoy, but remember that it is copyrighted with all rights reserved. It belongs to Mary’s estate. This poem is from Inside the Color of Red. 

Note: I have also put a link to Mary’s site, Myra’s site, and to Second Light Network in my blogroll under Poets and Friends, which a new and developing section of my blogroll.


by Mary MacCrae


A breathing space:

the house expands around me,


unfolds elastic lungs

drowsing me back


to other times and rooms

where I’ve sat alone

writing, as I do now,

when syncope –


one two three one two –

breaks in;


birdcall’s stained

the half-glazed door with colour,


enamelled the elder tree

whose ebony drops


hang in rich clusters

on shining scarlet stalks


while with one swift stab

the fresh-as-paint


starlings get to the heart

of the matter

of matter


in a gulp of flesh

and clotted juice that leaves me


gasping for words transparent

as glass, as air.

© poem and photograph, Estate of Mary MacRae, all rights reserved


  1. Good to see you again. Hope you are well. This is a lovely write and I will have to go read more of her poetry as I am not familiar with her. Always something new to discover is a good thing.


  2. Thank you Jamie, I hadn’t read Her work…
    I enjoyed the one you posted and I will check out the website…
    Tale Care…


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