Three Poems by Helen Jackson


Poetry by Helen Jackson

 

Another Westminster Bridge 

 

It’s not the flash and glint, the brackish Thames,
or the busker murdering the bag pipes.
It’s not the bulldoze past of a pinstripe
suit on his daily commute. It’s not stems
of heather, find the lady, tourist scrums
queuing for selfies in front of the Eye.
Not the bus-stop lovers kissing good-bye
as the tube chimes its echoes of steel drums.
No it’s round the corner, under your feet,
where last spring, flowers lay plump like pillows.
That’s where you glimpse it – all that mighty heart:
a plaque on a headstone, facing a street
of protestors, flags of blue and yellow.
Behind, the palace tears itself apart.


 

 

XV

 

Here they come,

carrying their bottles,

fluorescent dwarves

with ropes and ladders

and gasping mouth-pipes.

They come to me

– Mother of the World –

in high sun, driven, it seems,

by a desire to festoon

my hair with billowing

rainbow bunting.

I don’t mind, I suppose.

But it does get tiresome.

And if I sneeze

they tumble away,

or dig in their heels

and jab hooks in my skin.

Some love me so much

they choose to stay:

sleep on my chest,

hide under my joints,

green boots gleaning.

But from time to time,

when the fancy takes me,

I blow the cloud windward

and let them come.

Feel their feet tickle my ears

as they hold open their arms.

I wink at Lhotse,

she gives me a nod

and together we turn

our foreheads to the sky.

 


 

 

Tightrope

 

There are so many things that I hold dear:

like muddied hands, our walks along the shore.

Sometimes I forget you’re no longer here,

 

that you cannot see this now, cannot hear.

And as I know how quickly sleek grief thaws,

there are so many things that I hold. Dear

 

God we’d fight for days though, you’d disappear

from sight. I must remind myself, because

sometimes I forget. You’re no longer here

 

to remind me, you see. The rip, the tear

of wires and blood, the shred of heart and gauze:

there are so many things. That I hold dear

 

to them, all these battle-won souvenirs,

is because they’re all I have. Final flaws.

Sometimes I forget you’re no longer here,

 

set you a plate, expect you to appear,

your loaded footsteps and key in the door.

There are so many things that I hold dear.

Sometimes I forget you’re no longer here.

 

 


Helen Jackson is in her final year of the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck. By day she is an accountant but by night procrastinates about putting pen to paper. She likes writing formal verse and once had a sestina published in a City Lit anthology. One day she will possibly get around to joining Twitter.