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Author Biography
Poetry By
  Jacqui Pack

Published on: 11/11/2013

I wish that I could make disloyal words perform
My bidding. When I put them into verse
I never find the terms I need.
Instead, I build up, piece by piece,
Some rhythmic prose, with no real worth
(Other than as a metaphor for madness.)

This decline, slow and wretched, into madness
Began while I was still at school. In Form
2B I'd chew my pen and strive to prove my worth.
My quest to find poetic words for verse
Denied my fledgling mind a moment's peace.
I turned to a thesaurus in my hour of need

And substituted crave or yearn to stand for need.
Derangement and insanity replaced my prior madness.
I sensed the jigsaw taking shape, piece by tiny piece.
And gradually, my friend, I made those words conform.
They toed the line! My prosody, its origins diverse,
Had a renaissance. Thus Roget's toil evinced its worth.

I had at my disposal words that Wordsworth
Never dreamed of—far more than I could ever use (or need).
Alas, entombed within my sonnets, villanelles and comic verse
I realised I had swapped my youthful madness
For an obsession with Sudoku, in the form
Of syllables. The harsh truth was revealed. I had no peace.

So, how did I attain the lasting peace
Which I sought after? For what it's worth
I'll tell you how, and why. But firstly, I'll inform
You of precisely what you'll need
If you're to curb the march of madness,
And force its monstrous army to reverse.

When William Shakespeare wrote heroic verse,
He insisted on the right to work in peace.
To write without sweet solitude is madness.
So cogitate, don't ever rush, it's worth
Taking the time to play; to knead
Your stanza's content, and reflect it within form.

Though perfect verse is surely worth
The time spent on each piece, true genius may need
To vie with madness in some form.

Published on: 11/8/2013
Mother Goose

Cinders has glass slippers
To remind her of the ball.
Puss, when he's relaxing,
Leaves his boots out in the hall.
Red ballet shoes compel you
To dance through night and day
And the giant who wears ten-league boots
Lives very far away.
Clown shoes are labelled left and right
To save from any muddles,
And William wears Wish Wellingtons
To keep him safe from puddles.

Your world is full of fairytales
Of dragon slaying kings
And one day, when your time has come,
You'll do enchanted things.
But in your first shoes walk with me
And tightly hold my hand
And know that I'll be always here
Whatever life has planned.

Published on: 10/2/2013
True Love

The truth of love is held within the eyes,
Not of the young, in passion's first embrace;
Electric sparks that jolt the heart; the chase
That ends in tumbled sheets and carnal sighs;
Not summer days, spent chasing butterflies
And gazing at a lover's perfect face
At rest, against a grassy pillowcase;
Nor in the angst of bittersweet goodbyes.

The truth of love is captured in the tender
Tears she sheds on days he can't recall a
Face, or why she's come, or if they've met before.
And when he falls asleep, she will pretend their
Life's not lost—but vows to honour, love, obey,
Which bind her tight, can't hold him anymore.

Published on: 9/30/2013

The men bound the ropes to the rocks
while the church bells were rung
sending ripples of sound drifting over the waves
which each swell forces higher,
to dissolve
into shingle.

Will it still be worthwhile
when cold sea slaps your chest and drags
down on your legs?
When the water creeps upwards
And bubbles of brine replace prayers on your lips?
When your eyes are submerged and your hair
floats like weed?
When it's too late for words
will they still hold their worth?

what makes you so sure
this is worth it?

Published on: 9/27/2013

This parasite has dragged me down.

Gene-fuelled amnesia
tricked me. Secreted
memories I now regurgitate.

How could I forget?
Again, I seek the comfort of cold porcelain
clutch its rim, feel the world heave.
Helpless against invasion,
losing all identity,
I am extending.
Stretched in violent
hours of sleepless torture.

And I, a willing host,
forgot this subjugation.
Remembered only
an enslaving surge of love.

Published on: 9/25/2013

Late autumn in Lavender Hill and I perched in her kitchen,
a Frigidaire to my back. Florrie Mac rolled the fruit
with her back to the Belling. Pigeons flirted
on rooftops, and the distance between us
shrank from fifty-nine years to a square of formica.

When she felt the fruit yield she dug deep, nails
piercing its dimples, discarding its skin
exposing a pithy white petticoat fleece.
Down her thumbs delved, to its core, and then spread,
dividing her cache and transferring
a quarter from her hand to mine.

The incision. Her nails, oval-smooth and half-mooned
slicing through the first piece. The papery membrane
folding back to reveal its pale glossy lined flesh.
Her thumbs, underneath, easing out to the edges
'til a crescent of fruit is unloosed, and falls, whole.

On our way into London this summer
We passed Lavender Hill on the train.
In a breath I returned. Florrie's
citrus-sweet tang
squeezing my throat
and pressing her memory
onto my tongue.

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