New poetry by Jean Taylor

Have You Ever Tasted Cardboard and Other Important Questions

When he lost his sense of smell, he claimed

that everything tasted of cardboard.

She wondered if he had been in the habit

of chewing cereal packets or nibbling

on playing cards and whether the plastic coating

added extra flavour.

Afterwards she thought it was a good idea

to take his empty shoes out to the snow.

Did she think she was writing similes in footprints,

mapping an outline for her surprising future?

Now her skin is petalled with dried leaves, spiders

dance a scarlet tarantella across her cheeks

and sometimes she wears slippers in the garden.

Waiting for the Ferry

Nervous of islands, he dreams of drowning

under the space the sky takes up.

He longs to be on board at night, seeing

only reflections in darkened windows –

bodies curled like snails drawn into shells

or, propped up, head-nodding,

chins clanking against breastbones.

He longs to hear the rhythm of engines,

the whispers of other passengers,

to feel the tilt of the ship in the Minch breeze.

He longs even more for mainland services,

the presence of trains, being able to walk

the slow road home, under a smaller sky.

About the contributor

Jean Taylor lives in Edinburgh. Her poetry has been published in a range of publications including Pushing Out the Boat, Orbis, Northwords Now, Firth and Envoi as well as in anthologies and online. Her pamphlet Deliberate Sunlight was published by Black Agnes Press in 2019.

Related Articles

Dave Kavanagh chats to Kieran Devaney

Kieran Devaney has reported on and produced programmes around the world for TV am, Channel 4, ITN and Sky News in the United Kingdom, CNN in the United States

2 Poems from Darren Donohue

Darren Donohue is a current nominee for both the Irish Times, New Irish Writing Poetry Award, and the Strokestown International Poetry Prize.

Poetry by Katharine Goda

Katharine Goda was highly commended in the Blue Nib Chapbook competition 2019

More Like This

‘Tigress’ by Jessica Mookherjee -Reviewed

'Tigress' Jessica Mookherjee Nine Arches Press ISBN 978-1911027720 Jessica Mookherjee's collection explores family life between Bengal, Wales and London, the displacement that accompanies migration, transformation and growing...

Poetry by Katherine Duffy

Duffy’s vibrant poetry allows us to travel through a whole spectrum of colour, whilst standing still.

Poetry by Featured Poet, Leeanne Quinn

Quinn is a flawless writer. She draws on the materials life has given her to create a pared but visionary poetry.

3 poems by Maeve McKenna

Maeve McKenna’s work has been placed in several international poetry competitions. She enjoys writing immensely, almost as much as she does avoiding it.

1 poem by Kathleen Holliday

A welcome return from poet, Kathleen Holliday