war bunker image

A New Hope by Tracy Davidson, Hysteria 2021 category winner

Tracy Davidson is the winner of the Poetry category in the 2021 Hysteria Writing Competition. You can find her poem, along with the other finalists from each category in the Hysteria 8 anthology.

Listen to the recording

Read by Laura McHarrie during the Hysteria 8 launch party.

Read the poem

Six months after the ceasefire a different man comes home.
He won’t talk of war, but haunted eyes speak volumes.
On warmer days he spends hours in the garden, feeding the birds.
Their quiet chirps and soft songs a balm to ears used to sounds
of battle. It still haunts him. In dreams. The gunfire, the screams.
He wakes sometimes, drenched in sweat and shaking, flinches
when I try to comfort him. He flinches when I touch his scars too.
At first. But then he says he finds my gentle touch soothing
against the raised and ruined skin. He finds a level of calm
in my calmness. Peace in my peace. Hope in my hope.
A year after the armistice…  I tell him he’s going
to be a father. For the first time, his smile reaches his eyes.


Tracy Davidson lives in Warwickshire. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Mslexia, Modern Haiku, Journey to Crone, The Great Gatsby Anthology, In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights.

(Image courtesy: 652234)

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