Jenny Hockey Poetry
Praise to the Lord of lights not on,
of weetabix spooned in the shadow
of a candle, Lord of the drizzle
that haunts the back of our house.
Praise to the Lord of macs,
of waterproof trousers, velcro
and zips, to the Lord of low expectations —
of just getting out
to bring the mud back in,
rain-spattered glasses, hair
in a frizz, praise him
for deafness to grumbles,
the whine of a child that builds to a roar,
who won’t let bumface boss her
but does, who sings in the rain, hand
in a grownup hand, sparking her brother
to fragments of husky pop,
words we never quite catch.
Five Things I Learned at the Jam Factory
That jam is not for the likes of us
hunched servants of the loading belt.
That Big Lil smells
feral, even from this side
of the line — but her terrible wrists
can rip our emptied boxes
into stackable sheets
all shift long.
That there are worse things
than broken glass.
That the language my parents want me not to learn
is faint as the murmur of a wasp
under the trundle and clank of the belt
wobbling jars away to the vat.
That whether I need a pee or not,
the women will make me
take the extra break.
Stitch in Time
When you come back to knitting
later in life, you know your needles
and your mother’s needles before you
will have to be found, maybe behind
the hoover and the wellington boots
in the understairs cupboard
and when you find them — by chance —
all their sizes will be history, superseded
by both a metric and an American system
and the knitting patterns you find on sale
will suit only the fragile girls who haunt
a pebbled Hebridean beach or wilt
about grouse moors, pale and lost to love
while you stand squat by The Wool-Baa
— hours to go before opening time,
eyeing yarn for socks you promised yourself
not to knit, after too many nights on the sofa,
your loved ones withdrawn to their beds
and their books, while you can no longer
resist, impelled to a row that you know
will not be your last or your last or your last
now you’ve come back to knitting.