Do, you thindk, do – bore
eyes streabig, dose ruddig,
rushig ad gurglig like a Badhattad
ad idfectiod which affects pribarily
Code – first published in Magma 66, Winter 2016, Eds. John Canfield and Ella Frears (www.magmapoetry.com)
Crabtree to Gascoigne, 1641
That November Sunday he, the better astronomer,
Tonight though, at my window, the cosmos
My lenses mist.
Would he have planned to visit had he felt unwell,
Which, in the end, was what? Something of the spheres,
Thus I am plagued by fears: that to fathom the skies
These fears I want his reason to reject.
But since my telescope cannot bring him closer,
Jeremiah Horrocks [1619-1641], of Toxteth, first recorded the transit of Venus and predicted future transits, including 8th June 2004. ‘The Keats of English astronomy’ died the day before he was to meet his mentee William Crabtree [1610-1644] of Salford. Their friend William Gascoigne [1612-1644], of Leeds, invented the micrometer.
Crabtree to Gascoigne, 1641 – from Eleven Wonders (Graft Poetry 2011, Ed. Nicholas Bielby www.graftpoetry.co.uk)
Unattributed sampler Bankfield Regimental Museum, Halifax In memory of ELIZABETH HITCHEN, Who died November 26, this battle was begun in 1841. The house was quiet and you must learn to be, Grandmamma whispered, measuring the lines. Your little sister’s gone Aged 13 months to be with God. I was just five but could already read THEY WILL BE MISST A VACANT PLACE AT TABLE AND AT TIME OF PRAYER. What shall we put up there I asked,in the big space? Lord knows, my love – God will decide she said, then smiled. Me, probably. AT HOME AT CHURCH MORN NOON AND NIGHT she printed carefully MISST ALL THE TIME AND EVERY WHERE. With the next letter, G – she stopped. When you’re a big girl, you can do the rest. Next day she showed me cross-stitch and I sewed IN MEMORY until my eyes hurt. Eight years slipped by AND ALSO ASSENETH WHO DIED when I was thirteen FEB 8 1849. That night I satin-stitched an urn, an altar, half a rose. AGED 19 MONTHS. The cloth was grey by then with childish sweat, pinpricks of blood and also tears AND ALSO HANNAH two years on THE GRANDMOTHER OF THE ABOVE. I found the last lines of the verse she had left off and marked them up, but couldn’t frame – until I’d lived as long again – to add ‘on’ to the G ON BUT NOT LOST OH THIS WE KNOW – my nephew feverish, I had to end this tale. Thread by thread I drew our family back AND ALSO EMILY MY NIECE WHO DIED AGED 4 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS AND ALSO JOHN their Father WHO DIED 1865 AGED 28 AND ALSO AZUBAH WHO DIED AGED 18 YEARS and all so young. WE KNOW WE TRUST I persevered THE BOUNDLESS LOVE stitching my fingers numb oF GOD HE DOETH ill John’s son was ill, fighting for breath aged 4. If I could break the spell I told myself and stitch one living name – my own – with some date soon perhaps all would be WELL HIS WILL BE DONE WE SAY AND KISS his eyes his hands his fingernails God will decide my needle vain to stop his CHASTENING ROD claiming one more AND ALSO for this field of crosses MICHAEL HITCHEN WHO DIED JUNE 5 1872 AGED 4 and AND 10 MONTHS.
'Valentine', 'Unattributed Sampler', 'When I was six', 'Waltz' - from Without a Dog (Graft Poetry 2008, Ed. Nicholas Bielby www.graftpoetry.co.uk)
When I was six
You will be beautiful my father said, as if
You’re lucky, says Suyin, brazen now,
When I was Six and other poems are © Julia Deakin
Julia Deakin is a UK-based poet with three full-length collections, each praised by nationally renowned poets. ‘Crafted, tender poems, written with passion and purpose,’ said Simon Armitage of Without a Dog (Graft, 2008). Anne Stevenson enjoyed its ‘mature wit and wisdom’. ‘Real linguistic inventiveness’ said Ian McMillan. ‘Bold, irreverent and wickedly funny,’ said Alison Brackenbury of her Poetry Business Competition winner The Half-Mile-High-Club.
Eleven Wonders (Graft 2012) Michael Symmons Roberts judged ‘powerful, assured, elegant. Her formal skill and inventiveness make this a rich and eclectic collection. Those who, like me, have admired her individual poems in the past, will be struck by their cumulative strength and range.’
A compelling reader, she has featured twice on Poetry Please and won numerous prizes. Her fourth collection, Sleepless (Valley Press) will be published in October 2018.