Ann Segrave lives in Lewes, and its heritage and landscape are reflected in her poetry. Her collections, Aviatrix (2009) and Persimmon (2014) are published by Oversteps Books.
A curlew’s feather, mackerel-marked, blew
towards the dark shore of Kent. We all turned
as one, seeing the channel cut for the cockle-boats
filling up fast.
‘Don’t cross the creek’
but we always did – skirts tucked up
joining the pale-legged boys, ration-book thin.
I don’t recall fear –
just knew we’d better get across now, slip into
warm water, wade to the bank
pull the little ones out.
A sinister geography enters my dreams.
I’m alone in rough tides,
between the two shores,
not knowing which one is nearer, which one to head for.
Last night you were with me, swimming behind me,
cupping my thighs, setting me right
with a life-saving bottle-nosed nudge.
Run, Rabbit, Run
Sure that they’d like them – admire them –
I took my toys out in the street
to show the soldiers –
soldiers from Czechoslovakia.
Inside, we played
under the reinforced table
my parents with me on the floor
Later, seeing through my father’s thinning hair
that old scar curving back
much further than I thought
I learnt how a fall from a Tandem
cracked his skull
saved him from the Front
how I was delivered by nuns
in a zinc bath by the fire
in a back-to-back house
sucked at milk
heated in a bain-marie.
[Both poems appear in her second collection, Persimmon, from Oversteps Books.]
Back to The Needlewriters’ Companion