5 Poems by Jenny Blackford

Jenny Blackford lives in Newcastle, Australia. Her poems have appeared in Westerly, Going Down Swinging, The Pedestal Magazine and more. Her poetry prizes include first place in the Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Poetry 2017, the Connemara Mussel Festival Poetry Competition 2016 and the Humorous Verse section of the Henry Lawson awards in 2014 and 2017, as well as third in the prestigious ACU Prize for Literature 2014. Pitt Street Poetry published an illustrated pamphlet of her cat poems, The Duties of a Cat, in 2013, and her first full-length book of poetry, The Loyalty of Chickens, in 2017.


TWO SECONDS TO TEARS


The Doomsday Clock is set at 
two minutes to midnight 
for life as we know it.
I’m set at two seconds 
to tears: 
my mother, his father.
Not for the old reasons
which seemed so urgent
back then. 
I could laugh


almost. 


Just when we should
have been having
the time of our lives


his father fell
on a smooth surface.


My mother can’t remember 
what she can’t remember
again and 
again and 
again. 


And time disintegrates.









SACRED TO YOGA



Tuesday mornings are sacred to yoga. The washing 
and writing and parents and overgrown garden can wait 
till I’m done, stretched and strengthened
and calmed.


Little pause after the in breath.


Foot strain, joint pain, migraine; endless specialists 
have looked me up and down and in and out, 
and asked, Have you tried yoga?
Oh, yes.


Little pause after the out breath. 


Hands and knees on mats for cat pose: stiffened spine 
curls smooth again. Bottoms up for downward dog: 
release the hamstrings
and the head.


Little paws pressed to our mats.


The parquet floor is full of people
keeping ourselves well.
The only side effect
is calm.









On the Putative Darkness of Cats



The household feline wants to think
he’s dark-mysterious, scourge of the night lands,
savage with delight; uncanny hunter,
companion of witches and poets.
 
White Death, they call him
in his silky dreams.
We’re all in the spare room, furry
and smooth-skinned family members together
 
because the silly beastie lost a baby rat 
in the big bedroom, and I can’t find it.
The cat is in disgrace, but even he won’t stay
overnight in the same room 
 
as the tiny terrifying wild thing.









GIGANTIC

A week before I leave
for my first cruise, a coldsore 
the size of a bus and twice as sore. 


On the cruiseship balcony, the saddest 
soul trapped in the wood and metal rail, 
wailing in the wind.


On the plush stairs, a teen retro-goth 
in the one-act tragedy “Everyone hates me”. 
I try not to laugh.


At bus-tour lunch after 
the treasure-sodden Hermitage, 
a Muslim couple fighting in undertones


staring morose 
in opposite directions. Echoes
of my past. By bus reboarding time


they’re all smiles again
over their baby girl 
in her gigantic pram. 


The whole bus smiles.







Egret with attitude




An egret coolly snacked on tadpoles 
from the pond, white cuphook neck 
bent with the elegance of aristocracy.
Ivy, protector of frogs and froglets,
waved long pale arms at the bird. 


What exactly is your point?
it almost said, lowered its lordly neck
for another refreshing bite.
Too civilised to shout at wildlife
the frog-defender ran close as she dared.


Go! Leave the pond alone!
Unrushed, skilful on its stilts,
the white-necked bird complied, strolled 
to the lush lawn, fished the damp grass
for undefended worms.



Now that you're here

The Blue Nib believes in the power of the written word, the well-structured sentence and the crafted poetic phrase. Since 2016 we have published, supported and promoted the work of both established and emerging voices in poetry, fiction, essay and journalism. Times are difficult for publishers, and The Blue Nib is no exception. It survives on subscription income only. If you also believe in the power of the written word, then please consider supporting The Blue Nib and our contributors by subscribing to either our print or digital issue.

On Astráil

Poetry by Geoffrey Forrester

Poetry by Geoffrey Forrester
Under the softly expert eye of Australian poet Geoffrey Forrester (Tug Dumbly), the simple ritual of a common haircut is delved into and its implications expanded in a way that cannot fail to delight!

A Poem By Brett Dionysius

Poe By Brett Dionysius 1
Australian poet Brett Dionysius coaxes us back in time to the burial of a plant by an Ice Age squirrel, and how that plant may feel to be ‘woken’ from a 32,000-year-old sleep.

1 POEM BY FRASER MACKAY

1 POEM BY FRASER MACKAY
Australian poet Fraser Mackay dances in the space between regret and speculation, expertly exploring the unsettled nature of relationships while leaving us with a lingering sense of hope.

2 poems by Daragh Byrne

Poems by Daragh Byrne
Irish-born, Daragh Byrne has lived in Sydney for a decade. He writes informed by a longstanding meditation practice and his background in physics.

Poetry by Moya Pacey

Poetry by Moya Pacey
Moya Pacey co-edits the on-line journal, 'Not Very Quiet'

Editor of An Astraíl, Denise O’Hagan selects poetry from new and established voices in Austrailia and New Zealand and is constantly searching for fresh and innovative voices in poetry from Ireland or The United Kingdom: Submit to An Astraíl.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Comments

Recently on An Astraíl

2 poems by Amanda McLeod

Amanda McLeod is a Canberra-based writer and artist. Her debut flash fiction, Animal Behaviour (Chaffinch Press, 2020), came out on July 3 2020.
ISSUE 42

Get unlimited access for just  €7.50 P/Quarter

Get access now
Terms and Conditions apply
close-link
Click Me