Tag Archives: Sheila Jacob

Through My Father’s Eyes by Sheila Jacob

I was recently sent this beautiful pamphlet of poems by Sheila Jacob. I have just started reading it, turning the thick cream-coloured pages with pleasure. The opening poem had me hooked, as the poet goes through a photo album full of happy memories, until she reaches blank pages when her father stopped taking photos. The last few lines are a punch in the gut: ‘as though Dad’s box-Brownie/ saw him cough into his handkerchief/ and clouded its glassy eye’ (Camera Shy). Another poem compares the poet to the son she could have been and all the things she couldn’t be to please him, because she was a girl. But the epiphany of the poem is realised when the father is angry for her bad Maths scores, and she can say sorry to her father, hug him, and do all the other things her non-existent brother cannot. True, he can’t fail, but nor can he laugh, run and jump, sip pop through a straw, or cry against dad’s shoulder. (A Boy Called Anthony). Her father’s early death affected her deeply, and she remembers the dreadful experience of watching him fade, and losing him, in poems full of loving details, focusing on things like a bird caught in his sickroom because he always had the window open. ‘Rulers and Jacket’ is full of wonderful but poignant tactile memories of his working with leather at Remploy, then when he became to ill to work, sewing leather at home to make a knitting needle case for his wife, patchwork bags, paw pads for teddies. This is just a taster of these loving, yet never for a second sentimental poems. Working class, Catholic background, I also recognise many of the details of Jacob’s childhood.

Although this publication is all Jacob’s poems collected together so far, I hope she will continue writing and in time, produce further pamphlets. I shall be returning to these poems for further savouring. These poems are assured, confident, and what I would call ‘the real thing’. It’s not just the preserve of big name poets to write movingly and skilfully. These poems had to be written. They are sure-footed and I feel enlarged by having read them, reliving their memories alongside the poet. 

Thank you Sheila Jacob, for making a present of this book to me. I am honoured by your acknowledgment in the back, in your list of poets who inspire you. You have inspired me with these poems. Please don’t stop writing.

20190421_111833

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Hygge Feature #12: Baby, it’s cold outside

“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful… ” When it snows, the world looks clean and bright, unless you have to drive in it. Snow looks best viewed from the window, although this photo was taken from the top of Billinge Lump,  by me. Today’s poems are coming in out of the cold and getting cosy, or watching the snow from indoors.

DIGITAL CAMERA

Upper Wharfedale

At first, just grey, the sky snow-laden,
and far-off sheep like stones on winter fells.
An old man, moleskinned-up and twine cinched,
times his bootsteps to the drub of a gale, the rub
of a collie, close and low, gathering shadows
in her wall-eyed squint.

Cloud, loosed from drystoned horizons,
blows across lead-mines, through the marsh,
swabbing tractor gouges, hoof-poached peat,
the upturned, blackened face of soil.
Hear curlew madrigals, lapwing decussate the mist,
an old man coughing, nipped to his core.

Grey houses, hunkered under ferny crags,
impervious to rain and storm, to swirl and flood
of windslapped river, to fallen willow creeled
beneath a stone-arched bridge where cows once trod,
home for the milking, reds and whites
with fondant eyes.

A boy, who taunted the Angus bull
with stick and cat-calls, who barely lived
to brag another day, pulls broken crayfish traps
from underneath the half drowned stepping-stones,
his brick-red, scarred reflection wavering
in pools and eddies.

Sweet stink of mistle and, resting by the wall,
redundant milk-churns, lipped white with fungus,
plump haloes of stars. Among the ash trees,
through the wych elms, all about the ancient
wet woods, jackdaws swagger, gather twigs
to drop down unprotected stacks.

A wood-stove dissipates the chill, flames flower
through gloom, like strewn geraniums, warm
cold, wet feet and shiny, chilblained fingers
and everything is reddened, drying, thawed.
A long-night moon bestrides the dale, snow settles,
and a home bound vixen shrieks.

Lesley Quayle

 

Snow Globe       

Look, look, I call,
come and look
through the window.

You’re there
in half a minute,
pull back the curtains.

It’s snowing
softly, suddenly,
cloud-fall of crystals

meshing, balancing
their own weight,
feathering brick walls,

blossoming on kerbsides,
embroidering wheelie
bins with bridal white.                                     .

One shake of the sky
and we’re outside
looking in,

our breath
misting
the glass.

Sheila Jacob

 

Some seek the fire,
I seek the moon

Winter’s sharp cold
clarifies skies, inner thoughts.
Just when we think it is most cruel,
winter drapes bare branches in
garments of frosty glory.

Inside, most sit by fire’s light
seeking its warm glow
warmth as an inner respite
from, an antidote to
outside’s cold.

Though inside, I’m
by the window
watching snow fall,
flake by flake
down silver paths set by
moonlight endowing
my lawn with the rainbow
glow of light on frost, glorying
in cold comfort.

Joan Leotta

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Hygge