Keep reading the poems

And Other Poems is taking a break and will be back in 2017. Thank you to everyone who’s sent poems this year and thank you to Rishi Dastidar for being a wonderful co-editor. I post updates on the News page so it’s worth checking in from time to time. You can read all of the hundreds of poems at And Other Poems by exploring the archive or by clicking on Index. Thank you for reading poems.

Best wishes

Josephine

poinsettia-2016

And Other Poems is taking a short break

And Other Poems will be back on 17th November.

bags packed for Aldeburgh

I’ll be at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival (hope to see some of you there!) and then on retreat with the Aldeburgh Eight Advanced Seminar.

Thanks and best wishes

Josephine

‘Honeymoon’ by Josephine Corcoran

Honeymoon

I wouldn’t call it a honeymoon,
those muffled nights in mothballed rooms.
With cake in the boot we pilgrimmed north,
taking a young marriage to old widows,

my father’s brothers dead,
their crucifixes still hanging.
In each house we were given the double bed,
my aunties inviting us to fornicate

on concave mattresses containing dead men’s
seed. Had we come one week before,
you would have been given nothing
but dusty blankets on a downstairs floor,

and I would have sunk, alone and deep,
into the mildewed sponge of a cousin’s bed.
My aunties would have spread
as wide as angels in their marital sheets,

their doors ajar, the solemn whispers
of their night-time prayers beating
as sweet as deathbed love-making.
But our wedding vows were said,

so we sipped tea on upright chairs
still dimpled with Brylcreemed heads,
and rolled like screws in side-ways jars
on shelves in locked-up sheds.

Seven years,
one son, one daughter later,
Jesus has been sent to us.
(The aunts are gone, their houses stripped)
His legs are broken (long marriages skipped,

thrown into landfill) and we laugh
when our little children ask about our honeymoon.
I see you dreaming down our garden path
as you hold the broken body in your hands.

He was nailed to the Anaglypta.
You are picturing the twist of wire you’ll use to bind his legs,
the nail, the hammer, the spirit level, the pencil
mark the place he’ll eternally outstare us.

I love the way our daughter sings
as her finger traces our wedding rings.
 
(published in The Bridport Prize Winners Anthology 2010)
 
 
Josephine Corcoran works part-time for The Reader Organisation in Wiltshire. She wrote about being a finalist at Bridport here.