Something beyond ourselves: three poems by Jean Atkin

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The Horseman’s Word

I do most solemnly take upon me
the vows and secrets of horsemanship

That Word I know but do not tell, hearing
just the gait of that worked-out Galloway,
all hard mouth & spavinned hocks.

Catch up & halter the pattering
unshod ponies, my Word in their ear –
I shall not cut it or carve it, paint it
or print it, write it or engrave it –
curry their bellies’ fringe of guard hair,
grass-stained skewbald, strawberry roan
Royal, Misty, Dandy, Cherry,
my Bobby Dazzler bonny filly.

Here’s to the lad that can always conceal
And keep a thing hidden
Now the words go, like snow off a dyke.
Give me a good doer without wind galls or vice.
Crupper that Clyde & fettle his feather
& keep somewhere in the kist the fate
of the foundered horse
& the meaning of names –
Breakheart Hill & Killhorse Lane.

The Horseman’s Word was a secret ritual ceremony in 19th century Scotland.

 

Fiddlers Causeway

What there was, was a lane between drystone walls,
that took the hardland down to the mosses.

What there was, was its steepness,
rolling with limestones big as your fist.

You might forget the dairy herd lumbering,
full-bagged, weary, up to the farm.

You might forget the stones that pressed
through the thin bendy soles of our wellies.

Do you remember the rush and stumble of their legs,
their piebald hides, their spattering shit?

Do you remember the wetness and dark of the lame
cow’s eye as she hobbled up last on the causeway?

 

Hard Winter

After two months, it’s about hunger.
The sheep are tamer, come to call.

By day, ice breaks its heart,
weeps heartless tears.

By night, the stars freeze
to our slates.

Just now, in snow by the byre,
a wren like a dead leaf.

In electric light, the cat, on a bale,
washing her paws.

 

Jean Atkin

 

 

Biography

Jean Atkin has published ‘Not Lost Since Last Time’ (Oversteps Books) and also five poetry pamphlets and a children’s novel.   Her recent work appears in Magma, Agenda, Ambit, Poetry Salzburg, The North, Earthlines and The Moth.  She has held residencies in both England and Scotland, and works as a poet in education and community projects.

www.jeanatkin.com

@wordsparks

 

 

Introducing the Arts Foundry editorial team

It’s been a busy few months here at the Arts Foundry. The submissions are flying in, and to get the New Year off to a good start we’ve put an editorial team in place to help bring the best work to publication.

Next stop, Wolverhampton Literature Festival where our freshly-published writers and poets will be performing their poetry and prose.

Without further ado, we’re super excited to introduce you to your new Fiction Editor and Poetry Editor!

Fiction Editor

Storm Mann

Ever since I can remember, I have been obsessed with stories. When I was a little girl, I used to feed this obsession by curling up in my dad’s old suitcase and reading Roald Dahl. I told people that I wanted to be a Giant Peach when I grew up. I wasn’t sure about the details of this transformation, but I was sure I would figure it out.

Instead of becoming a Giant Peach, I became a student at the University of Wolverhampton. I studied English with Creative and Professional Writing and came out with a First Class Honours degree. I am now studying my English MA and swooning regularly over all things Romanticism, Pre-Raphaelitism, The Lost Generation, Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, and Sylvia Plath.

I like to write as much as I like to read, and can usually be found jotting story ideas onto my hands, toilet roll, innocent bystanders etc.

This love for reading and writing has quite naturally led to an enjoyment of editing. I love working with other writers to get their work ready for publication. For this reason, I am especially excited to work with those submitting to the Arts Foundry!

 

Poetry Editor

Chris Forrester

As a child, reading was my life… from simple stories by writers like Mary Pope Osborne to classic tales by the likes of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, progressing to grittier sci-fi by Aaron Dembski-Bowden and Gav Thorpe.

Some poetry interested me, but it wasn’t until recently that I began to appreciate and pursue this particular art form.

After gaining a First Class Honours degree at the University of Wolverhampton, my interest in poetry multiplied exponentially, particularly studying Luke Kennard’s work.

Henley’s Invictus has to be my favourite poem, for its message of self-determination and self-mastery.

I continue to write and read new work to develop my understanding of the process of writing. Editing the work of others is a great privilege – my Teaching Writing module first introduced me to this complex and thrilling process.

I am extremely excited to work with Louise and Storm as well as the writers submitting to the Arts Foundry.

Storm and Chris have written for the University of Wolverhampton campus newspaper and both were published in the Electric Reads Young Writers’ Anthology 2016. Their stories are now being taught on the university’s English course.