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Jeremy Wikeley



the poet

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.

the poems

Train to Cambridge

After Louis MacNeice

00:00 / 00:48

                        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)

00:00 / 00:33

                              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

                              to Carthage.

                              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

                              in Carthage.

Poetry in Wartime

00:00 / 01:08

                        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.

Publishing credits

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)


S h a r e

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