Four Poems

Jenny Hockey

Monochrome photo of a kitchen window. One side of the window is open. Outside the window, fog envelopes leafless trees and a low-rise building off to the left. Below the window is a radiator with a dish towel hanging from it. The right side of the image is in shadow; on the left are cabinets and a shelf with pots hanging beneath. Below is a sink. The wall between the cabinets and sink is tiled with subway tiles. On the sideboard next to the sink are various kitchen things: a cutting board, a container of utensils, some cups/mugs, dish soap.

Photo Credit: Mayastar Lavi/Flickr (CC-by-sa)

Change of Heart

It’s 7 a.m., says Radio 4
but I spare the kitchen light,

stretch out darkness
like tights matted in the wash.

Our kettle boils, gulps your words
but you just gruff, call me deaf

and let the cold get its foot in the door
as you leave—maybe for good.

It’s 8 a.m., says Radio 4
and I’m stuffing my briefcase with work.

Here you are easing our grandson’s pram
gently, tenderly back up the steps—

his Buddha smile derails me
as sun tumbles in through the door,

as you slide the car keys out of my hand,
put the kettle back on.


Shows You the Colours

The window in your back door
has grey lined up for today,

has you fumbling for keys
on your grey larder shelf
then stepping outside, what else,
for isn’t it always like this,

the valley’s gash of a river,
the everyday practice of sad—

or maybe you grab an orange coat
to climb up high through the park,
to stand and gaze into pink
flooding through clouds.

Pale yellow moonlight
sleeps on my 6 a.m. rug,
dirty old stop-out.

Remember the lakeside chalet
we borrowed the summer we met,
marigolds, orange like sunbursts,
ravenous geese at 6 a.m.,
the lilac sky as we almost held hands.

Wolf, Storm and Strawberry moons,
Milk, then Blood—or Blue,
a moon that makes her quiet way,
into a month where two full moons
have flowered, a full-term child
behind the belly’s stretch.

Run towards Forge Dam
into a tunnel of rust, drab,
brown—summer lost

till a startle of feathers, blue
and grey, shows you gold, orange,
red—lets autumn begin.

Ruby cyclamen
bloom on our garden table
after forty years.



relishes rain, embraces the sadness
of putting summer aside, folding away
the softness of cotton frocks.

September hangs around,
drenching a cyclist who scoffed
at a mac, making us sweat
in vests we put on too soon

or nudging a woman to raise
difficult Christmas plans
while lunching à deux by a lake
on Chablis and sole meuniere.

September slides its palm
from August’s humid grip,
welcomes the tug of October.


Thursday morning

and here comes my bed,
ambling across the page.

This time I’m stuck in the dark
with a Timex Light-Up Watch

that won’t, opening the curtains
to more darkness still

that pours in across the carpet
along with a wet sighing of tyres.

Has it been raining all night
or only just begun?


Jenny Hockey lives in Sheffield, UK. She belongs to Hexameter, The Poetry Room and Living Line, with poems in magazines such as The North, Magma, The Frogmore Papers and Orbis. She retired from Sheffield University as Emeritus Professor of Sociology to write and read more poetry and now reviews for Orbis magazine. In 2013 received a New Poets Award from New Writing North and Oversteps Books published her debut collection Going to Bed with the Moon in 2019. Twitter: @JHockey20

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