Listen, you are and you aren’t.
Yes, to make the action believable
moment by moment; otherwise no.
Today: expectation – part joy
part disbelief. Don’t overdo it. The feeling
barely surfaces, but we see it.
Don’t blink. There should be
infinity in your gaze.
The weather, Plato, whatever
it takes to look like friends
having coffee. And no big gestures –
you hardly figure till the sobbing
makes you turn, brings you in.
Then puzzles, embarrassed; but
pain too, recognition. Indirectly you
heighten the drama.
So you’re leaning to look
back a last time. Not sad or happy,
more uncertain. That’s it – ongoing
uncertainty. Compose your face
with dark and light, to reflect the story.
The final shot is what stays. Like those
Russian horses in the rain by the river.
If words help, keep them to yourself.
by Jennie Feldman
‘Extra’ is copyright © Jennie Feldman, 2022, and is reprinted here from No Cherry Time (Arc Publications, 2022) by permission of Arc Publications. You can read more about the book on the Arc Publications website.
Jennie Feldman was born in South Africa, brought up in London, and graduated in Modern Languages (French) at Oxford. After a career in radio broadcasting, as well as teaching and editing, she became a freelance writer and translator.
Until recently she spent much of her time in Jerusalem; there she was a volunteer with the Israeli NGO Humans Without Borders, which transports chronically ill Palestinian children from the West Bank to hospital appointments in Israel. (She has written on this, and on other Palestine-related subjects, in the Times Literary Supplement.) She is now based in Oxford.
No Cherry Time is Jennie Feldman’s third collection of poems. Her first, The Lost Notebook (2005) was shortlisted for the Glen Dimplex Prize, and her second, Swift, came out in 2012. Both were published by Anvil Press Poetry (now Anvil / Carcanet), as were three books of translations: Jacques Réda, Treading Lightly: Selected Poems 1961-1975 (2005); Into the Deep Street: Seven Modern French Poets 1938-2008 (2009), co-authored with Stephen Romer, which was awarded a special commendation by the judges of the 2011 Popescu Poetry Prize; and Jacques Réda, The Mirabelle Pickers (2012).
Jennie Feldman’s most recent publication is Chardin and Rembrandt by Marcel Proust (David Zwirner Books, 2016). Her poems have appeared in various journals, among them Agenda, London Magazine, Oxford Poetry, PN Review, Poetry Review, Stand, and the Times Literary Supplement.
In its geographical sweep – from Israel-Palestine (“Where a hillside’s being shaken /out of the dream”) westward across Europe – No Cherry Time reflects a personal tale of estrangement, departure and quest. Fine-tuned to the natural world, sustained by its fragile continuities, the poems play out a restive music. As the focus comes to settle on Greece, it is above all the Mediterranean (“Sea Between the Lands”) that buoys the imaginative spirit, blurring East and West.
Arc Publications publishes contemporary poetry from new and established writers from the UK and abroad, specialising in the work of international poets writing in English and the work of overseas poets in translation. Arc also has a music imprint, Arc Music, for the publication of books about music and musicians.
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.