Nick Boreham: Red, Shortlisted for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition

Shortlisted for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2012, Nick Boreham writes poems and short stories which have appeared in a number of publications including Poetry Scotland, Equinox and several anthologies. His works were published in the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual for 2009 and 2011. As indicated by its title, Red is an exploration of colour and powerfully speaks about the changing significance of the colour red in different contexts. Read Nick Boreham’s poem Red below.


A flare-up on the surface of the sun,
a bloodspot on a yolk.
The most feared sign of all,
the lazy warning of a hidden wound.
Or what we most desire:
a blush, an orifice, a pleasant glow.
Red quickens the lips of girls, the fins of tropical fish,
the throats of jays and the end of a chase in a field.
I have seen people drag chairs out to patios
to drink wine the colour of poppies rinsed in red
while their children turned cartwheels
on their lawns in front of them.
I have felt its breath on my cheek,
its tongue in my mouth,
its hand on my shoulder ― guilt, danger,
maladie d’amour and a county court judgment for debt ―
the colour of my fear, the colour of myself.

There’s still one month left to enter the Creative Writing Competition 2013. Submit your poetry or short fiction for a chance to win £500 prize money, publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual and a selection of inspirational books from our competition partners, Bloodaxe Books and Vintage Books.

Find out more about entering the Creative Writing Competition at:

1. Maria Mor Huertas, Old Time Talk Courtesy of Maria Mor Huertas and Aesthetica.