Michael Laskey

poet, editor, workshop leader

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A narrow terrace, below the sandstone city walls.

We two were twelve years old, in blazers and velour hats,

with harvest shoeboxes: potatoes, Bramleys, a jar

of my mother’s marrow and ginger; buckled runner beans

like the old man’s hands. Newspaper on the table,

a scullery, pots on the draining board,

two greasy armchairs, a thrift of hot coals.

He showed us the figures he carved, let us cradle them:

the shepherd, a sheep slung across his shoulders; a pilgrim

grasping his staff, the fold of cloth, the breathing grain

of the wood. Like the carving they’d tell me the roofer

had found high up in the cathedral rafters:

a woman picking a thorn from her foot.


Jenifer Smith



from 'Reading Through the Night'

published 2015

price £5




Jenifer Smith was born and educated in the north west of England. She has been a teacher for all her working life. She was an advisory teacher for English in Suffolk and is now a senior lecturer in the School of Education at UEA. She is a co-founder of the UK National Writing Project.