The National Centre for Writing is delighted to support the national Living Wage Campaign for another year by commissioning a poem from writer and performer Harry Josephine Giles. Read, or listen, below.


Spells are desires in clear enough action
to turn the elements. Here is a spell:
when the bargain we are made to make
for food and shelter is to force
our bodies beyond their own wants, to place
the gold of our agency at the service
of another’s thirst, to give up the gifts
of time and breath to clocks and smoke,
then those who say they value life
shall pay in return enough for life.
And when you do not we will take it.


Harry Josephine Giles is from Orkney and lives in Leith. Her verse novel Deep Wheel Orcadia is coming out with Picador in October 2021. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from Stirling. Her show Drone debuted in the Made in Scotland Showcase at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe and toured internationally. Website