Jean Riley




Hitting Home

Jets scream into the valley.  I bend
to cover you with whispers,
spread finger-shields of bone

but you stiffen and that I can’t
erase harm on waves of sound,
assails me, trails us.

Rhymes, wind-chimes,
a blackbird and, slowed
to a lullaby,

I’m fixing a hole
where the rain gets in –
sweet as milk.

Till owl-song, a warning; clash
of crowded woodland Ash;
late footsteps, the door

shouldered open, my ‘hello’ lost
in the shudder, reverberation.
Here’s my struck-dumb alarm, again,

at rage that puts jets in the shade
and I can’t reach back far enough
to rock that cradle.



Jean Riley moved in 2018, Year of the Sea, to Pembrokeshire from Gloucestershire from where she draws poets to read at her local Museum, and runs poetry workshops.  She has read at Cheltenham Poetry Festival and work appears in Aldeburgh Poetry Trust’s ‘Stuff’, Envoi, The Rialto, Obsessed with Pipework and Under the Radar.

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