GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Tess Jolly works as a library assistant and facilitates creative writing workshops for children and young people.
She has been widely published in UK magazines and has been commended or placed in several competitions, including the Mslexia Poetry Competition and the Poetry Society's Stanza Poetry Competition.
In 2015 she won the Hamish Canham Prize and was the winner of the 2016 Anne Born Prize, both run by the Poetry Society
138 x 216mm
£6.00 + P&P UK
Thus the blue hour comes is a sequence of poems which explores the narrator’s journey away from home into a disturbing psychological world of restriction and disorder.
In a realm which could be house, forest or fairy tale, presided over by a menacing, unnamed presence, ordinary objects such as clocks, furniture and flowers become frightening and childhood games are dangerous.
Finally recognising the place for what it is, the traveller must decide if and how to return.
‘The mysterious, almost unnerving, quality of Tess Jolly’s poetry carries a cold fire into recesses of the imagination – and when we dare look with her, we glimpse treasures gleaming in the dark. These are bold, spellbinding poems.’
Author: The Nightwork
‘With sensitivity and authenticity, Tess Jolly gives the reader an insight into a deeply troubling situation. She creates a magical world of elemental images and complex emotions. There is struggle and pain, entrapment, lies and promises.
This powerful collection is beautifully
lyrical, cathartic and very moving.
Author: Dreaming Of Our Better Selves
Thus the blue hour comes
The Blue Hour
Why do these trees insist
on folding dark crowns inward
like heads around a bed?
They murmur and sway,
cry when the wind lifts their hair.
Then there’s the sound
of someone pleading,
a small voice
and another promise:
tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll eat.
Thus the blue hour comes.
Thus the smoke-blue vault
constructs itself from sky-blue bone
and now no longer knowing
to what it belongs
the mind falls
for its own hall-of-mirror
notions of right and wrong
and night’s a palimpsest:
blue upon blue
but never blue enough
to cross out the mistakes.
She gives me pretty dresses to wear.
Shows me how she likes my hair
and though I promised I wouldn’t
because I used to be such a happy thing
pushing prams of tucked-up dolls
up and down the landing
and they cannot bear to see me
so sad and pale and distant,
when the violinists lift their girl-hair bows,
bones hover before flautists’ lips,
she tugs each limb on its satin ribbon
and we begin the dance.
In dreams longed-for babies tumble from the sky.
Their shining heads are full-blown moons
and they fold limb-buds across their chests,
the stars of their would-be hands.
I stick my arms from the window
like straws in a game of Kerplunk
but when the bright baby-marbles reach me
I’m not there. She’s pulled me out
and tucked me in. Folded the corners under.
Waking I lie very still – a pressed flower.
The tulips on my bedside table
can no longer be bothered.
Looking for My Shadow
On bright days I see it
smeared across the wall:
lengthening, shortening –
the hope I hold for my life.
On other days, despite the fairy lights
looped along the corridor,
the candles hanging their heads,
my shadow gives me the slip.
I find it hanging – a small coat –
from a hook with my name on.
The Back of My Head as Seen from Above
Her favourite view
is of the back
of my head
as seen from above.
Something about the way
my long hair
parts at the neck
and the sounds I make
when bowed like this –
acidy, guttural –
the dark little hairs
on my nape
like cut glass.
She waits for me to finish
then lowers her mouth
to that bone-hollow –
She is the Abundance
She is the abundance and the munificence.
She is the hostage-taker, the voice echoing everywhere.
She is the thing growing inside me,
the rampant flowering nasturtiums.
She is bubbles pouring from rinsed mouths,
a smothering of spider-webs.
She is rust spreading like impetigo across my hands.
She is the abundance and the omniscience,
the narrator who knows my thoughts,
the ventriloquist who speaks my thoughts,
the infiltrator of dreams. She is the rodent running
on its wheel all night, an addict
repeating the same behaviour. She is the forest
thickening around me, the bones through skin.
She is branches locking round a child who is crying
because everyone is talking in tongues,
because none of the arms is the right arm,
because the arms carried her here
and this isn’t how they said it would be.
She is the candle setting itself alight for love of the flame.
She is the burning one who stands so close
the lamps of her eyes light up my face.
She is the abundance and the malevolence:
the standing stones bearing names, bearing numbers.
Light burns. Voices bruise.
The moon has passed from the sun
and birds are singing again from the trees.
Deep in the forest the wolf has stirred
and is trying to move but someone
has left a small mound of stones
in the place where she thought you were.
There is only the sea bearing stars
that mark her stilled heart,
the rivermouth unlearning her name.