Janet Fisher

A Huddersfield Poet

Category: Brittle Bones


Get a grip, grab hold of your chattering mind,
shove your chattering mind into the grip, ignore
the squeals, shut the grip in a cupboard,
lock it, swallow the key. Rid yourself
of the thought that it is a sin not to be busy.
It is NOT a sin not to be busy. Good.
Sit. Do not immediately get up again
to fetch a book or a CD or answer the phone.
The beds will make themselves eventually
and you have enough food till Wednesday.
Ignore the cobweb hanging from the curtain rail
and the six dirty mugs and glasses on the carpet.
It was a boring evening anyway and you’re glad
they didn’t stay past midnight. Forget them
especially the friend of your friend’s boyfriend.
He can find your number if he wants to.
Stare out of the window but do not start
a mental checklist: (1) prune the buddleia.
If there are birds or clouds let them move on.
What they portend is not your concern.
Sleep and death are the soft options.
Do not be tempted. You can do better.

Janet Fisher
in Brittle Bones

Chalk Farm


Blaring elephants echo from the zoo.
Friday evenings as you cross the Square
I watch from the fourth floor, throw down
the key. We’re squashed into the side room

while my flatmate makes it with a violinist
just back from Prague and its brief spring.
She can get us freebies for the RFH,
acoustics crisp as sheets on a line.

Cheap folk nights in cork-lined rooms,
or a stroll up to Heath Street for a curry
over Primrose Hill where MacNeice heard
the trees felled at the start of the war.

‘Summer of love’ – that was last year.
You can see St Paul’s from here, clear as a bell.

In Brittle Bones
“Throw down the key” – our version of the balcony scene when you’re 4 floors up.

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