Jeremy Wikeley is a writer and poet. His poems, essays and reviews have appeared online and in print in publications including New Welsh Review, The Observer, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal and The Friday Poem. Jeremy's poems have also been anthologised in three collections from The Emma Press. Originally from Romsey in Hamsphire, Jeremy now lives in London, where he works in the arts.
Train to Cambridge
After Louis MacNeice
Beyond the window the sky is turning
pink and it’s more surprising than that
song I wrote about how surprised I was that
the sky was turning pink. It’s turning
slowly, like it’s enjoying itself, as if
there’s no hurry. The evening is encouraging
the sky to follow it, and the sky is following,
in its own time, pink and pacing itself
while the train and I are racing to get ahead
of the turning of the world only to find
no matter how hard we try to push
ourselves we are always a sleeper behind
the evening as he strides along outside,
crushing the sun under his thumb, mixing
red dust with wet clouds and swiping
dark streaks across the cheeks of the sky.
The Vandals Remove
the Ark of the Covenant
(as told by the Ark)
Carnage! And then we were rocked
across the Mediterranean –
a box in a box in a box …
over the chopping winter sea
until a strange tongue told us we’d come
And they plonked us down on the edge
of the quay, as if we were
any old package. Which we are!
A box in a box in a box …
under tarpaulin on African docks
Train to Cambridge: In Transit: Poems of Travel (The Emma Press)
The Vandals Remove the Ark of the Covenant (as told by the Ark):
exclusive first publication by iamb
Poetry in Wartime: From the Silence of the Stacks,
New Voices Rise, Vol. 1 (The London Library)
Poetry in Wartime
If this was a war I could be sad for myself.
What bad luck (I’d say)
to get caught up in this.
So, the inevitable conscription
into the most statistically dangerous
wing of the armed forces
(half the bombers didn’t make it back)
would be more bad luck,
like the hole in the kitchen ceiling.
If this was a war, I would be worried
about dying, not other people dying
and the very possibility
might make the uncertainty tolerable.
If it were a war, every survivor
would have a different set of stories,
or at least there would be
enough variation in our experiences
for them to bear the repetition.
As it is, nothing we do seems very important
and because we don’t know
what’s working, we don’t know what’s
worth it, or what kind of world
will come next. All I know is
I will have to live in it.
And it’s right, it’s right, it’s right.
I’m not saying it’s not right.
But like everything right, it is unbearable.