Friday Poem – ‘Eva’ by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Eva’ by Carolyn Jess-Cooke from her new collection We Have to Leave the Earth.

This cover shows a photo of a balled up piece of blue fishing-twine lying against a pale pink and blue background.

Carolyn Jess-Cooke’s most recent collection We Have to Leave the Earth deftly interweaves the personal and the political. Climate change is confronted in a sequence about the Arctic; poems that are vividly descriptive of an extreme landscape, sensitive to the effects of global warming. A second sequence, The House of Rest, is a history in 9 poems of Josephine Butler, (1828-1906) a pioneering feminist activist. There are also tender poems about family.


Then you were here
real as a wound.

They placed you in my arms
with such care I thought you a parcel of feathers

that might fly away.
I stroked your face –

your eyes were midnight blue.
Time bended to you,

language re-strung its instruments
to sound your name.

Visitors admired your lace-
ears, your peony fists, but they

could not see you as I did –
you slid from your skin

just as you had slipped out of me
and became a shard

of morning light, turning
cobwebs to crystal thread,

the windowsill a gold bar,
dew on hedges constellations

of delicacy. I knew then
this love was alchemy.

Our bond is not made of that loose
wet rope they cut

but of instruments that show
the unseen and sound the silent,

the heart’s infinite missions
harnessed in flight.

We Have to Leave the Earth is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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Join us online for Virtual First Thursday on 2nd December from 7:30pm GMT where Carolyn will be reading from We Have to Leave the Earth alongside Jeremy Dixon. Tickets are £2 plus Eventbrite admin fee. Buy yours here

Friday Poem – ‘Crocodile’ by Jonathan Edwards

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Crocodile’ by Jonathan Edwards from his collection Gen.

Jonathan Edwards Gen

Gen is a book of lions and rock stars, street parties and servants, postmen and voices. In the opening sequence’s exploration of youth and young manhood, the author sets his own Valleys upbringing against the ’50s youth of his parents and the experience of a range of pop culture icons, including Kurt Cobain and Harry Houdini. These poems give way to a sequence of monologues and character sketches, giving us the lives of crocodiles and food testers, pianists and retail park trees. With his characteristic humour, warmth, formal range and swaggering music, Jonathan Edwards delivers a worthy follow-up to his popular and critically-lauded debut.

Gen is available on the Seren website: £9.99

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy from us.

Hear Jonathan Edwards read alongside Gillian Clarke in our next Virtual First Thursday taking place on Thursday 4 February from 7:30pm. Tickets £2.74, available from Eventbrite here

Jonathan is also tutoring a week-long online course on ‘Poems and People’ for The Garsdale Retreat at the beginning of March. Full details can be found on their website