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Jane Holland

Jane Holland


Born in Essex, Jane Holland has been a professional snooker player, a literary magazine editor, a novelist and is now Warwick Poet Laureate.

Her first novel, Kissing the Pink, was published by Sceptre in 1999.

Her latest poetry collection, ‘Boudicca & Co.’, was published by Salt in 2006.

Jane lives in Rugby with her husband and five children, where her interests include classical languages, astrology, medieval studies and American pool.

Her next book of poems, Camper Van Blues, is due out from Salt Publishing in October 2008.

To send Jane poems or get in touch, please click on the links below.

Jane’s Website

Visit Warwick Poet Laureate Blogspot here

Daddy-Long-Legs

Builders

Troika

Oneiromancy

  

Daddy-Long-Legs

Mid-September, and crane flies
are everywhere, haunting my kitchen
with delicate legs splayed
like a parachutist’s, gripping air.

Soon my house is alive with shadows, black
under the bulb’s glare. These
are the terrifying Daddy-Long-Legs
of my childhood, an insect
straight out of the mind’s dark spaces,
insubstantial bodies
caught in my hair, delirious in flight
against the light’s tremor
or perched long-legged on a white wall,
tiny Buddhas deep in prayer.

I fasten windows, lock all the doors,
yet still that pitched flight,
vibrato of wings, stays audible
until, quite suddenly, October thickens
and they disappear.

Jane Holland – Warwick Poet Laureate 2007-2008

Builders

Another one goes higher, climbing up that ladder
like a monkey: screwdriver, hammer, wrench
tucked neatly in his belt. His mates follow,
leaving their cloudy fingerprints
on plate-glass. This is their world,
high above our ant-eye level.
We scuttle underneath with cups of tea,
leave them steaming on planks
or pass them through open windows.

They lean against the scaffolding
at half past ten, unhurried, rolling smokes.
Later, the backs of their necks will redden
as they pull the flashing from the roof
(the youngest often stripping to the waist).
The sun is in my eyes; refracting light
into a fleet of curving poles,
this structure almost seems to bend,
a tree-house circumnavigating stone.

I watch them come first thing, unload their van
and swing up into clouds.
Each day we hear them through our walls
like mice in the skirting-boards
or scratching at the roof, bird claws
hooking onto lead. Their voices rumble
in the chimney-breast, hammer us
a slant of sky through glass
until we’re living under occupation.

Jane Holland – Warwick Poet Laureate 2007-2008

Troika

She comes up through the yard
at dusk, sturdy in boots
and thick fisherman’s jumper.
You stop work immediately,
smiling and combing lank hair
with your fingers.
Moments later, light streams
from an upstairs window.

The wind’s only a thin hiss
across darkening fields
but my camper rocks gently,
ringing its tiny bells
like some displaced troika.
Inside, I dream of snow
and cannon fire; pour myself
a cup of vodka
that sears even as it blurs.

Outside is like the first dark,
familiar as the first hurt.
I’m used to its deep velvet lagoons
and swim of wet tarmac,
its absence of love,
my road ahead the white trick
of a travelling moon.

Jane Holland – Warwick Poet Laureate 2007-2008

Oneiromancy

To dream of death signifies fear
of the unknown. Dandelions
speak of a lover’s
infidelities. Towers and steeples
are signs of ill omen.
To avoid nightmare, sleep
with a stone under your pillow.
The ring-tailed dove
must not be crossed with the crow,
or harm approaches.
To see rivers in flood
means death by drowning, and roses
financial ruin. Anything blue
is an excellent omen
for childbirth. Pearls bring sickness.
Opals, relief.
Falling from a high place
indicates a stranger’s treachery
and carrying milk
a long-held dream fulfilled.
But milk spilt
is to suffer love unrequited.

Jane Holland – Warwick Poet Laureate 2007-2008

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