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Jane Burn lives in an off-grid wooden cottage on the Northumberland border which was restored using almost wholly reclaimed materials.
Her love of nature is reflected in her poems which have been published in magazines including The Rialto, Iota Poetry, Under the Radar, and also in many anthologies including Indigo Dreams For The Silent.
Jane’s poems have been placed, shortlisted and longlisted in several poetry competitions and have been nominated for both the Forward and Pushcart Prize.
In 2019, she was invited to be part of the Brontë Festival of Women’s Writing at Haworth Parsonage where she read her poetry and displayed one of her interactive found/recycled scuptures.
Poetry / Book of Hours
138 x 216mm
21 Full colour Illuminations
£10 + P&P UK
Yan, Tan, Tether
Yan, Tan, Tether is a modern-day Book of Hours that celebrates the cycle of life, the seasons and the voices of some of the wonderful creatures that we share the Earth with. Each poem is accompanied by a full-colour ‘illumination’.
“This collection is a witch’s brew in the most beguiling sense, composed of equal parts invention and attention. The animal subjects of medieval poetry had rich symbolic lives, and there’s something similar at work in these poems. A luscious collection, one that revels in the marvellous ‘other’.”
“Yan Tan Tether offers a sequence of prayers from farm, holt and fell; songs of flight and silken web. Drawing upon superstition, folklore and nursery rhymes Jane Burn spins the speech of creatures, wild and domestic, paying homage to their otherness and their struggle for survival.”
“Folkloric and mythical, these sparkling exultations to the natural world are bright with vivid imagery, striking language,
and rich vernacular expositions. Bewitching artworks
stitched throughout the poems vivify and rouse the ‘magic’
in the slips and landscapes of this work.”
Sly Fox, Creep Fox, Hide Fox, Peep Fox
Sly fox, creep fox, hide fox, peep fox –
wind your sinews through the dark,
tawnyhead. Pant through your running
with quiet breath, empty the heat
from your lungs, make clouds all misty
in the night. Paws small as coins, dainty
spot of spoor sometimes left in soft ground,
mostly left none at all, your step so light.
The moon on your bristled back, nose
to rabbits trail – eat to live, not live to eat.
Got to brew your milk – three little cubs,
waiting back at the den like rolled fuzz,
whining for teats. You lost your love to the roadside –
screamed when you saw the waste of his
writhed corpse. Your heart was breached.
Bone fox, break fox, grieve fox, ache fox.
Tread careful, vixen-red. Those that hunt you
raise up a hunger of dogs to run you to ground,
ride their beasts to wrongness – un-rode horses never
hungered for your meat. Curbed with steel and spurred
with heel they cut the fields with iron-skim feet.
You shake your coney-meal, cache for later under leaves,
find your babies, settle snug and pray for peace.
Safe fox, sleep fox, dream fox, deep fox.
Mammy born us in spit wash – bubbled eggs!
She stuck us to lavender so we could lick
the stink off perfumed sap,
be bred in the purple, like majesties.
Inside we was small and lettuce-frail,
tiny ink-pen dotty motes
for eyes, peepy-black,
spun sugar hairs on us heads.
Frogs paddling a slavered den.
A hockle-home – a man’s disgust to touch us
is the way we grows up safe.
Fit as fleas, green as peas.
Cuckoo clears its pipes –
gizzards us a lully-bye
we never tires of hearing.
Two notes – hoo! hoo! to whistle us
a witchy scud. Time for foamy beds
you bugs. Time for shaping skin
and sprouting wings.
Nan wishes for snow
so she can welcome a world of spilled milk.
She will blemish it with petals, stretch the scrag
of her neck. Feel it flaked with crystals,
each drift of them a test of the Almighty’s skill.
Hear the first of its fall, far away; collect
the sound in skin-soft scoops. There, she will sigh,
detecting the little pliffs. Here it comes.
Her udder tucked, pink with cold –
worth the exposure to be outside,
on untouched acres, begging for first foot.
The sound will be the gentle ring of winter –
the land will wake, robin will clutch the fencepost,
blink his blackberry eye. She will reach her tongue,
imagine tasting his cardinal stain, her smile
a split of snaggle-tooth, laugh of underbite.
Strange yet radiant in the dawn.