Jenny Hockey Poetry

January Hallelujah


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all their sizes will be history, superseded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your loved ones withdrawn to their beds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.




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