The Unexplored Ocean was published in 1994. It took its title from a sequence in the voice of an 18th-century sailor who shares the voyages of Captain Cook. But again there were other voyages, into the past via her interest in archaeology, into personae like mediaeval monks and archers from the Wars of the Roses, and the voyage into another life. Reviews spoke of “rich tactile description” (Poetry Wales) and “an enviable clarity of intent, purpose and execution” (Poetry Review)
Seren, 1st & 2nd Floors, 38-40 Nolton Street, Bridgend CF31 3BN, tel 01656-663018 or email
December 25th Nativity
Out in the hedges sheep turn from the wind.
Lanes are empty over the bitter hills.
Nobody travels for nobody knows the way;
today everyone will be counted where they are.
The people have hidden themselves; they’ve gone to ground
deep in the warm rooms and the charity halls,
burrowing into the red heart of the day,
the comfort of stories, the bright, unanswerable star.
But the heart is beating, suddenly beating
subtle and soft so the sheep look up and listen;
beating in the scarlet rotting berries;
in the tangle of the wind among the trees;
in the barn where the drunken tramp is singing;
in the corner of the church where the candles slowly stiffen.
From the sequence “From a Book of Hours”
Since the new window, the front door looks strange.
The old glass had been in there since we came;
bubbled, so that no-one could see out.
Then late one night a street kid threw a stone.
You always meant to change it, but the black
spiderweb of cracks hung there for weeks
through the freezing winter of your sickness.
They carried you past it to the waiting car.
The new glass is lighter, has another pattern,
makes the street look less contorted,
lets us see the postman bring the letters.
A glazier came to fit it; he was messy,
not like you would have been. If you knocked
now, we’d look different as we answered.