Snow White & Rose Red

August 31, 2016

Snow-White-and-Rose-Red-Megan-Kimber

It’s their favourite story
though they argue over who should get the prince.
Sometimes they see the bear-skin hearth-rug
twitch as if it wants something back.
Out of the dwarf’s bad-tempered beard
they are knitting socks for their father
full of hidden brambles and burrs.

Jennifer Copley

Gingerbread

August 27, 2016

Hansel-and-gretel-rackham

There are holes in everything she owns:
dress, shoes, the roof of her house.
As she shuffles home,
the wind finds her ears,
shoots down them, makes them ache.

She needed more marzipan.
Mice have been nibbling
and one of the gingerbread walls
is caving in. When she gets back
she’ll break another piece of chocolate
from the door jamb, suck it for warmth.

Last night snow blew down the chimney,
sat hunched in her chair.
It’s the only company she has
but the house should bring them
sooner or later – ragged children
tiptoeing up her path,
their rosebud mouths
opening for barley sugar.

Jennifer Copley

Jennifer Copley has published six collections of poetry including Ice,Unsafe Monuments, Beans in Snow, Living Daylights and Mr Trickfeather.

stairs1

On the first step, the hungriest one.
On the second, the bookish one, eyes wide open.
On the third, the one who carried water.
Those that were beautiful, on the fourth,
Those that were not, on the fifth.
The ones that came last, swept the others up.
Then they broke the brooms, made us sweep up the splinters.

Jennifer Copley

Night Walk

March 13, 2016

darkforest

You are walking uphill to the sky,
learning the stars.
Emily is on your back
in the papoose.
She drinks the darkness,
laps it up.
Ahead is a screed of stones
with the full moon sitting
bang on top.

Emily reaches out.
When she can’t catch hold
she wails, and pulls your hair.
You comfort with sweets
as the Dog Star growls
and Orion the hunter
buckles on his belt.

Jennifer Copley

Boots, Not Shoes

November 30, 2015

viewfromthewindow

The day she died, it was pouring with rain.
People were rushing to work
with newspapers over their heads.
Drains and gutters were flooding.

I wasn’t dressed when the phone-call came.
The Bakelite handle almost fell from my grasp
when my father’s quavering voice
came on the line.

“Boots not shoes!”
was all he could say for a moment.
“There’s so much mud
where she’s lying!”

Jennifer Copley

(Jennifer Copley lives in Cumbria. In 2001 she completed an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Her poems have been widely published.)

Boarding School Friend

April 11, 2015

bear

Cheek to cheek
in your iron bed,
you hold him very tight.
His nose is greasy with tears,
his tummy is bald.

You tell him everything;
whisper into his limp ear
your secret passions and crimes.
His running-stitch eyes
melt with love.

He is your dependable friend since forever.
He will never run back into the woods
even for perfect porridge.
He will never growl at you
or show his claws.

Jennifer Copley

Boots, Not Shoes

April 6, 2015

boots

The day she died, it was pouring with rain.
People were rushing to work
with newspapers over their heads.
Drains and gutters were flooding.

I wasn’t dressed when the phone-call came.
The Bakelite handle almost fell from my grasp
when my father’s quavering voice
came on the line.

“Boots not shoes!”
was all he could say for a moment.
“There’s so much mud
where she’s lying!”

Jennifer Copley