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‘The Summer our Father Sailed the English Channel’

The summer our father sailed the English Channel,
we rolled packets of Polos into smooth white paper tubes.
My sister used her felt tip pens to write EMERGENCY

MINTS down each bony spine.
You were our polar explorer,
arctic adventurer.

We charted your route, coloured
the curved waves of land, solid
blue slab of sea.

And when you came back— all
St Tropez tan and French laugh,
Cognac and St Christopher,

we listened to your stories of basking
sharks and places Orcas go to die, or you lashed
to the mast in a great wild storm, sucking

mints like tiny life belts. How you
were blown weightless
across the harbour, just missing the light

ship in the fog, the three of us
clinging to your legs as if your very voice
could stop us from drowning.



The Poetry School recently called out to students to send us poems on the theme of ‘Power’. The winning poem would get not only the invisible blue rosette of the Poetry School’s esteem, but also the chance to be turned into an illustration by our lovely cover designer, Jack Hudson. There were many great submissions, but after careful consideration we chose ‘The Summer our Father Sailed the English Channel’ by Karen Jane Cannon as our ‘Best In Show’, published here for the first time alongside Jack’s artwork.

Karen Jane Cannon’s poems have been published in Orbis, Acumen, Deep Water and upcoming in Ink, Sweat & Tears. Her novel Powder Monkey was published by Orion in 2003. She has an MA in Creative Writing with distinction  from Bath Spa University, where she lectured for three years. She is currently putting together a proposal for a Creative PhD.

Karen: “I am really enjoying my time at The Poetry school. It is such a fun, dynamic community that has grown enormously over the last year, in so many ways.  I have completed five courses and I’m currently taking two more, as well as The Waste Land online reading group.  What I love about The Poetry School, as well as the excellent courses and tutoring,  is the range of abilities getting involved — from complete beginners to poets with collections, all sharing the same learning environment. Can you imagine that happening with prose? Poetry is equally as difficult as it is rewarding. You have to really work at it. Sharing a space with people as committed and passionate as yourself is incredibly inspiring.”


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Image Credits:

Image credit: Jack Hudson