In Nutwood, Rupert’s father wore a bracken-
coloured jacket when he did the garden;
his mother stayed indoors, in an apron
frilled like the mantelpiece. Bluebell woods
had winding paths which led him home again
after his visit to the elves, deep in their caves
where lanterns flamed with trapped sunshine.
On the next page you could make an elf
by folding paper on the dotted line.
One day in Bournemouth, my teenage heroine
hopped on a bus because she liked its name,
then spent a golden summer out of time;
the hidden house she camped in, she revived:
pulled paper off the wainscot, scrubbed it white,
trundled the mildewed chairs off-stage, repaired
a lacquered bed inlaid with tourmaline;
then, dead on cue, right on the final page
our hero returned to claim his lost domaine.
Jan Morris made up Hav from everywhere
she’d been: the iron dog from Venice, a bridge
from Newport in South Wales; she wove it all
together. We’re the same, framed by the dots
we’ve joined as bandage, hammock, parachute.
We glut on stories, we slip between their lines
to sleep, still in their dream-mesh caught.
In a cocooned trance we are re-formed:
this is where we come from, how we make our home.
by Ellie Evans
‘Seedcorn’ is copyright © Ellie Evans, 2011. It is reprinted from The Ivy Hides the Fig-Ripe Duchess, published by Seren Books in 2011.
Ellie Evans is Welsh-speaking and lives in Powys, mid-Wales. The Ivy Hides the Fig-Ripe Duchess is her first poetry collection, but she has already been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and has read at many poetry festivals. Using a surrealist palette of imagery and a tightly focused idiom, the author takes us on strange journeys: to the post-apocalyptic world of the title poem, or into a skewed 18th century Venice in ‘The Zograscope’. These strange worlds are always to the purpose; they are, as Marianne Moore famously said of poetry, ‘imaginary gardens with real toads in them.’ The novelist and poet Gerard Woodward has written that ‘Evans has an extraordinary ability to conjure startling and surprising images out of the most commonplace material. There is a very interesting juxtaposition of the domestic and the exotic in her work.’ You can read more about Ellie Evans and see her read from her work here, and visit her website at this link.
Seren is based in Wales (‘Seren’ means ‘star’ in Welsh) and recently celebrated its 30th birthday. Begun as an offshoot of the magazine Poetry Wales by Cary Archard and Dannie Abse in the latter’s garage in Ogmore-by-Sea, the press has now grown and employs a number of staff. It is known for publishing prize-winning poetry, including collections by recent Forward winners, Hilary Menos and Kathryn Simmonds, as well as books by Owen Sheers, Pascale Petit, Deryn Rees-Jones, and many others. The fiction list features a new title by Patrick McGuinness, The Last Hundred Days, that was longlisted for the Booker Prize. The high-quality arts books include the recent collaboration between the poet John Fuller and the photographer David Hurn, Writing the Picture.
For more details about Seren, visit the publisher’s website, where there is a blog about Seren’s news and events. You can also find Seren on Facebook, on Twitter, and on YouTube, where there are videos of a number of poets reading from their work.
Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.