WILD NATURE POETRY AWARD competition now open.

Jennie Farley is a poet, workshop leader and teacher and her poetry has featured in many journals and anthologies.


Her first collection ‘My Grandmother Skating’ was published by Indigo Dreams in 2016.


She has performed her work at  Cheltenham Literature Festival, Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Swindon Poetry Festival, Everyman  Theatre, Bristol Revue and deepspaceworks community art centre.  


Jennie also founded and runs [email protected] which provides regular events of poetry, music and writing workshops.







138 x 216mm


66 pages


£9.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-87-9


PUB:  03/08/2018










Jennie Farley







How did they work it, this dark magic,

our forbears who painted cave walls,

with mammoth, bison, speared

for happy hunting, necromancers

holding worded spells over flame,

mumbling witches stirring a broth of herbs.


Me, I took up my felt-tipped pen, sketched

her face on the back of my note book,

coloured it in to look like Warhol’s

portrait of Marilyn, my fingers poised

with the tip of a sharp and rusty pin.




Grandma Jenkins


Grandma Jenkins stirs her porridge

the wrong way. She doesn’t feel


the need for teeth. Her eyes

are sharp as tin. On warm days


she sits at the cottage door, her skirt

stretched wide, shelling peas.


I hurry past on my way to school,

but can’t resist a backward glance.  


Would she put a spell on me?  


Once I dared myself to stop

and say, Good morning!


Grandma Jenkins beckoned me

close, I could smell her baccy breath,


she leaned forward with a cackle,

chucked me under the chin. I ran


and ran. I haven’t yet turned into a rat

or an owl, but I go to school another way.






The man who stands in the curtained shadow

doesn’t hold out his hands to me as others do

with flowers, gifts, unwanted platitudes.

He never could. Not since that day

when the world tipped over and emptiness

rang in our ears.  I say our for I know

his held-in suffering matches mine.


In bed we lie apart, our words

come out all wrong, touch means

nothing. We are like shy young lovers

afraid of corrupting something precious.  


One night in a kind of desperation

we clutch each other, thrusting

through pain to a place where

we’ve never been, blood-dark and raw.  


Afterwards shrouded in shame

for our mutual forgetting, we return

to our separate shadows, remain there,

waiting for the urgent baby cry that never comes.



This is how things change.

When you step outside a bar

into a glistening street of neon pink

where a man with a moustache is waiting

beneath a lamp with a bunch of lilies.


When you notice that bones

are being worn outside the skin

like gloves, when the scar on your ankle

has become a tattoo of a small curved dagger,

when the autumn bushes in your garden

are a rage of tigers, and rotting geraniums

ooze menstrual blood.


When your pet cat turns feral, all

snarling and claws, and the cushions

in your sitting-room look furious.

When you see the town pigeons

stamping out a code on the pavements,

when one hundred seagulls rise and swoop

in formation over Sainsbury’s.


When you sleep in the afternoon

and your dreams take you to another,

yet familiar, place, when at night every face

in the universe shows itself to you one by one.


When conversation becomes silver sound

like a symphony heard but not understood,

when a glass-bottomed boat upturns

and the sky is full of fish.






A harbour breeze flutters my skirt,

tickle-kisses limbs that feel so strange.

How I miss the languish of blubber,


the thump and flip of fin.  I loiter at

the docks, waiting for his ship, for him,

the man I saw leaning on the prow.  


I swam up close, arching my neck,

my silvery hair rippling down my back,

my breasts rising above the foam. He smiled,


and I was caught as in a trawler’s net.

I paid the price with my severed tongue,

the waves awash with the blood of my lost


voice as I took the foul paste the sea-witch

fed me. My new legs are two spikes.  At each

step I take I tread on blades. But when I think


of him, I feel a quickening at the tender fold

where my legs join, though meshed in pain. I ache

for him. But I know our passion will be a sword.




If I Could


If I could reach the wolf of you,

beyond the sleek lover, the human truth,

down deep through caves of foetid sleep

to the whimpers, the fur, the musk of you,

as lost to our world you suck on dreams.


In feral dark I would lie with you,

adorn your mane with a diamond sheen.

I would lick your paws, anoint your pelt

with my woman’s scent, feed you

apples of the moon.

“Jennie Farley's poems take the familiar as a point of departure, mixing the real with the surreal, the everyday with the imaginary.

In ‘Hex’ Farley encounters new truths by seeking out fresh perspectives.

This is a thought-provoking and engaging collection that invites the reader to accompany the poet on her journey.”

Matthew Stewart


“In ‘Hex’ Jennie Farley skilfully stitches, unstitches and re-attaches mythology, folklore and her own experiences. These tales are barbaric and bewitching in equal measure, constantly asking the reader to question our own identities and the masks we wear.”

Stephen Daniels


“These poems tread a high wire between magic and fantasy. Jennie Farley's exploration of myth and biblical references focus on undercurrent and subtext in unexpected and glorious ways with a storytelling quality of a world in slant. A place you will enter and never want to leave. There is more than a sprinkling of magic in this collection.”

Nina Lewis

In HEX the everyday is imbued with old magic from myth, legend and folklore. Characters in these tales include deviant goddesses, eccentric old ladies, a female arm-wrestler, a cross- dresser and an erring priest who play out narratives inspired by passion, unrequited love, loneliness and intimations of mortality.

DSCN0292 9781910834879