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06 | 16 : Helen Ivory


Photo by Martin Figura

For our third poem from the 16 August Fruitmarket readers, Helen Ivory takes us to the threshold between this world and the next:

My Grandmother and Mrs Crow

While she was dying
her dead friend
stayed with her all night.
She wore a frayed hospital gown,
and sat in a wheelchair.

She was telling her
how things are there;
how televisions don’t exist;
how you can get a decent cup of tea,
and how pleased her geese were to see her.

Being there, was in fact
a lot like the old days,
except she hadn’t seen
her husband,
and what a blessing that was.

By morning, Mrs Crow
had almost gone;
just a halo of silver hair remained,
and her geese were in flight
in a string of noisy beads across the sky.

Helen Ivory is a poet and artist.  She has a degree from Norwich Art School and won an Eric Gregory Award in 1999. She has three collections with Bloodaxe Books, the most recent The Breakfast Machine was published last year. She has taught for the Arvon Foundation, The Poetry School and at UEA where she is Academic Director for Creative Writing for Continuing Education.  She also runs regular workshops in Norwich and teaches for The Unthank School of Writing. She edits the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears and is an editor for The Poetry Archive. She regularly posts new work on her website:

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