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YE GODS

Jill Sharp grew up in the New Forest in Hampshire and studied at Keele University when it offered groundbreaking four year multi-disciplinary degrees, and at Queen Mary, University of London.

 

She taught in a range of different settings from a NACRO project for young offenders to a large London comprehensive and a pupil referral unit, before joining the OU. She has also worked as an assistant editor on a children’s magazine and produced and edited education publications.

 

Jill was an associate lecturer with the Open University for nearly twenty years and she currently leads creative writing workshops at the Richard Jefferies Museum, Coate.

 

She is a founder member of Swindon’s BlueGate Poets, now Poetry Swindon, and her work has appeared regularly in magazines and anthologies since 2005, most recently The Interpreter’s House, the Morning Star, the LA Times, Mslexia, The Book of Love and Loss and online at Ink, Sweat & Tears and And Other Poems.

 

 

 

 

Jill Sharp

 

Ye gods

 

ISBN 978-1-909357-76-1

 

Indigo Dreams Publishing

 

Poetry

 

138 x 216mm

 

34 pages

 

£6.00 + P&P UK

 

PUB: April 2015

 

 

ORDER HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

grass-flat

Rhapsody in Beige

For the colourful lady

whose greatest fear is ‘beige’

 

The makers of Monroe’s underwear

called its subtle melody champagne

and they knew a thing or two

about the murmuring notes of flesh

on flesh, naughtier than scarlet

or than black, like the package arriving

under plain wrapper.

 

Cosmic latte - colour

of the universe,

of desert sand, of cream,

of unbleached silks and linens,

of the oyster,

 

of that moment before dawn -

the world’s slow turning -

how it offers itself and waits

as you make your mind up;

the one who, with nothing at all to say,

says everything.

 

 

 

 

 

Papaver

 

Lift the soldier’s arm

from round her shoulders,

ease that delicate form.

When she tilts her head

it’s not in sorrow

but towards the place

those silken skirts will fall

in the long grass.

 

No trade with Eros, either;

simply a scarlet flower -

one of millions shimmering  

a few days in the sun

as all flowers do,

as do we all.

 

 

 

 

 

Valediction

 

As the black cars glide down the hill

why are you at my shoulder, laughing?

And I can’t help smiling to be here

in this flash limousine, a pale bride

in her solemn, slow parade, as you mock

these faces ‘playing at funerals.’

Back home, all the glum faces gone, the kids,

expressionless, watch TV. In our room,

dumbfounded, I stroke your plastic lighter

into life, over and over, outstaring

each frail flame. A faceless ghost, the pillow

still holds your head’s form; now I rest my own

in that selfsame space, trying to make sense

of a different pronoun and a different tense.

Standing Stones, Calanais

Isle of Lewis

 

The age-old clan is gathered, raised

from cold earth

to witness our solemnities –

decay, rebirth.

 

Reeds set to flute the Atlantic winds,

give blood and bone

ceremony of ocean

breathed through stone.

 

Small dial and compass to the vast

circles of time,

sealed portal touched awake by light

as suns align.

 

Still centrifuge that, once all flesh

melts from the spars,

lets fly each human spirit

to the stars.

 

 

 

 

 

Seasons of the heart

 

No flower more chivalrous

than aconite, the golden-headed

green-ruffed glory of it, spread

at my feet. Bright clouds

breeze in, wave after wave

to tease our contemplation,

a subtle aeromancy full

of promise.

 

 *

From the tall grass something

shook itself free, rushed

upwards, trilling, up

and up, dissolving

into light; a piper calling

way above our heads somewhere

setting the hot fields

spinning.

 

 *

Fruit gleams

in the hedgerows, yields

to a touch. Take, eat.

Cables slacken under the weight

of swallows; a cloud of gulls

harries the tractor.

Walk the furrows. Stubble’s sharp

as knives.

 

 *

Into the sky trees fling

their hoarded gold –

a year’s ransom –

blazing into fireworks

as it falls.

But earth lies frozen.

Honesty opens its silken purse

too late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janus

 

So it begins. Days rise

with stars still in the branches.

From warm doorways

where our shadows are cast out

we search skies

that are empty, flightless,

homing early to gather up

gifts the trees have let fall.

Evenings on the sofa,

archaic king and queen,

we gaze into the same corner

as each breath, cooling,

drifts through the room

to silent resolution on the panes.

 

 

 

 

Toothbrush Terpsichore

 

They stand together by the sink, tall necks

and sloping shoulders like two young giraffes

poised at a watering hole, watching for motion

in the grass, listening to a ripple under water,

before lowering their heads to drink.

 

Nothing to mark them out as he or she -

throats bright-ringed with yellow, green -

they’re equally unfaded and unworn,

wearing such tender buttons at their hearts  

a soft touch sets heads spinning.

 

Charged up, ready for the day, they’re balanced,

separate - a far cry from the bristly bunch

lolling in the family tumbler.

At night they rest unblemished in a puddle,

reflecting on that perfect pearl of moon.

 

Twin acolytes, initiates

at the lustral pool, clad in pristine white

and blue, their shadows rise and circle

with the dawn.  Solemnly they await

the laying on of hands, the shock immersion,

 

slender, tapered forms - like the remains

of some great temple to Poseidon -

silent upon a cliff, seeing far off

the masts and pennants of an unknown ship

racing towards them across the Aegean.

Ye gods expresses both the shock and the awe of everyday life in poems that encounter moments of dismay as well as wonder.  Combining dark humour with a gentle lyricism, this pamphlet explores a range of human experience with wit and compassion.

 

 

 

 

“Ye gods brings linguistic precision to closely observed moments, evoking everyday life with a sharpened focus. This world belongs to the gods as well as humanity, winged messengers and Janus as much a part of our consciousness as toothbrushes, jam doughnuts, and family photographs. Such is the fullness of Sharp’s vision in this promising debut.”                                                                                                                           Carrie Etter

 

“Jill Sharp is an eloquent poet, observing with confidence and inventiveness the mixed feelings that underpin our lives. Her poems are not afraid to confront conflicting emotions and are willing to recognise even the unlikely touches of humour that can co-exist with loss and bereavement.

She writes about the human condition with grace and tenderness.”

D.A. Prince

 

 

 

 

 

JKS 0411 WEB 9781909357761 WEB 9781909357761 WEB 9781909357761