And the Pick of the Month for March 2017 is ‘Stranger’ by Jessica Mookherjee

Our poem for International Women’s Day, Jessica Mookherjee’s ‘Stranger’, has been voted as the IS&T Pick of the Month for March 2017, its mystical aura and the beauty of the language having seduced our readers.

Jessica is originally from Wales now living in Kent. She has had poems published previously in Ink Sweat & Tears as well as Antiphon, Agenda, Prole, Interpreter’s House, Obsessed With Pipework and Tears in the Fence. Her pamphlet, The Swell – was published in October 2016 by Telltale Press.

Jessica has asked that her £10 prize be donated to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which, in memory of Sophie who was kicked to death in 2007 for looking different, focuses on creating respect for and understanding of subcultures in our communities.



I’ll ask the Moon to do my dirty work.
In the backwash I wonder if the Welsh God
with his untidy name, painted her.
I’m the colour of the rock.
I’ll be a moon-glowing witch,
with cloud-hands getting slowly drunk, as I shrink out of the sky.
They ask me why I wear a bone in my nose and I laugh,
make their cows lame and their children fail.

Everyone’s asleep, I walk streets where lights
are still on in people’s houses –
to walk my coast path from West Cross
to the Mumbles Head, away from the village,
from that old infant school
with that big sign that told them to aim
for something they must have believed at the time,
where the milk was too warm and made them sick.

I want to flick a switch and turn
off all the stars. I can drop gold-crushed light
on the cliff paths, and sit
down here on Brandy Cove, sea-faced.
They spread rumours that I was the moon and chased me
with silver, I know I can’t drown
because I’m the water.


Voters’ comments included:

Bold, energetic, innovative and deeply feminine poem which takes the reader on a journey that’s both fabulous and believable.

Jess’s poetry has layers of vivid imagery, dreams and ancient stories. As an artist working with the visual world, I like all the hidden depths – they recall everything and nothing of what i have experienced. Pictures and colours rise to the surface!

Because of the symbolism and how it captures a mystical angst of being different

The magical atmosphere evoked in the poem and the beautiful use of language – “gold crushed light “!

‘the Welsh god/with his untidy name’ – you know when you read something and think ‘I wish I’d written that’?

It has a feeling of sparkly abandon and the last three lines just melt me.

The last two lines: Miller ending – a sort of satisfying semi-paradox

Because the witch sings a strong song.

I love the beauty the words in this poem convey.

The imagery, the language and the sense of ancientness

Beautiful, lyrical, other worldly. We Welsh are very fey

Astonishing, luminous and mystical poem, utterly beautiful!





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