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Winter 2019/20

Josephine Dickinson


‘There is no joy but calm’ – Tennyson

There is me.
There is the rosy sky at dawn.
There is the puddle the geese have left
where they stepped out of the pond
after their first morning splash.
There is the fierceness
of a well-wrought poem,
of a hot curry
(did I apologize for the joy?
oh dear).
There is the fiendish brilliance
of a piano piece
picked through note by note
for the first ever time.
There is the plush of a lover’s lips.
Some of these things can coexist with calm –
perhaps not the lover’s lips.
There is the old red hen
seeking out the old cockerel
in his bed of straw.
There is the old cockerel standing beside her
after she has been hurt,
billing and preening her gently,
staying a day or two with her,
in the stillness of her grief,
then, with giant, stealthy steps,
tiptoeing out into the sun.

Josephine Dickinson has published four collections of poetry including Silence Fell (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), and collaborates with artists, musicians and writers. A new collection and a prose memoir wait in the wings. Active as a visual artist, Josephine lives on a small hill farm in the remote high Pennines in the north of England.


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