Jo Hemmant’s ‘The Den’

Jo Hemmant

Jo Hemmant

Jo Hemmant spent many years working as a journalist and editor and only began writing poetry the day her youngest son started school. Her work has appeared in or is upcoming at Horizon Review, qarrtsiluni, blossombones, bluefifth review, Equinox, South, Decanto, Dream Catcher, Fire and Obsessed with Pipework. She lives with her husband, her two sons, aged eight and six and a menagerie in the burbs outside London. Last year she co-founded ouroboros review, a poetry and art journal that appears both online and in print, and set up Pindrop Press, a small independent poetry press. The first book is due off the presses in 2010.
The den
Jo Hemmant
For his sixth birthday, a tent.
Two-man, pop-up, no tripping
over a cat’s cradle of guy ropes and pegs.
It covers most of the floor in his room,
is kitted out with what boys like –
Top Trumps, action figures, plastic insects.
He begs me to read to him there that night.
Crawling in, I notice that the millimetre-thin skin
cuts out noise, the air’s new with polymers.
We shine a moon on the roof with the torch
and find ourselves in a field, staring up
through a plastic square at a sky
deep and dark as a coal mine’s throat.
Outside, the fire has cooled to amber.
Menace storybooks the woods.
Read more of Jo’s work in Horizon Review.

11 thoughts on “Jo Hemmant’s ‘The Den’

  1. Michelle Post author

    There’s a wonderful intimacy throughout the poem, isn’t there, Deb? It’s a warm, impenetrable world. The snuggling up in the tent “staring up / through a plastic square at a sky / deep and dark as a coal mine’s throat” …

  2. dale

    🙂 Yes. A wonderful poem, and its resonances skitter off into huge distances. Always that sense, with Jo’s poetry, that a tremendous amount has been left unsaid.

  3. Sophie

    Brilliant alliteration of the pop-up tent, all sharp angles and polymer crackles: and then the o’s of wonder at the close. Loving the gulp and awe of “coal mine’s throat.” Awesome.

  4. Julie

    I had to come read this one first. Yay, Jo! I remember the poem and am still in awe when I read it. Excellent poet and awesome person.

  5. t

    I really liked the final lines: “Outside, the fire has cooled to amber. / Menace storybooks the woods.” Will stay in my mind for quite a while.

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