Guest Poem by Jennie Osborne

Jennie Osborne is one of the Teignmouth Poetry Festival organisers and an occasional Poetry School tutor. Much of her work involves collaboration with visual artists and musicians, including her own poetry and music band, Crow Country and the Day Evans Dale Ensemble. Her latest collection, Signals From the Other, published by Dempsey and Windle, explores our relationship with the ‘other than human’ and the imminent ecological catastrophe.

On the Line

It’s cows that block our journey,
leave us wrapped in a tunnel of trees,learning –
because we have no choice – to be stopped,
somewhere near Crewkerne,
to look at leaves unblurred by speed,
speak to our neighbours, stretch and peer –

although we can’t see them yet, these
black and white Friesians that have parked
their ample rumps across the straight line
on our maps, penned us in a spot where even
satellites’ signals are overshadowed
and we are cut out from our lives,

suspended in our stopped pod,
our watches and timetables worthless –
and slowly the counterpoint of grumble and enquiry,
half-audible tannoy, scrabble and scrape of bags,
climbs its gradient of crescendo before settling
to a canon of resigned conversation

till the trolley rattles through, dispensing
its gospel that all will be well
for we have tea.