Two poems by Jess Henshall

Rook , print by Jess Henshall

Rook, print by Jess Henshall

Electric Lights


In the black of an anthracite night

We came to the place of artificial

Lights and artificial dreams,

It was the abandon of our childhood naivety

The end of our lives, the end of it all.


Black words. We spat them at each other

In the gap between the cold bed sheets

And the stale air of each other’s mouths,

All of the unspoken things suddenly heard

As if we had said them all along.


Maybe if we had just slowed down

We would have noticed things other than

Ourselves. Instead we walked empty streets,

Haunted by narcotic nights, searching for

Sharp edges to feed our self induced misery.


We were dying beneath the layers of

Pigments and powders and plastic smiles

But as we watched our city burn

And bury itself in its own ashes,

In our minds, we welcomed the demise.


There is nothing left now except the fading

Images in our heads, the tainted memories

Of electric lights, and the sound of the

Rooks as they land in the ruins of our lives,

But maybe this is all there ever was.

Shadowed Earth


When we destroyed ourselves

And the places we had once known,

The rooks filled the gaps we had left

Like weeds in the cracks in the concrete.


Piece by piece they wove their nests

In the burnt out cavities of our homes,

Watching as the last bricks fell and our

Touch faded from the tarmac streets


The rooks opened their wings to the light

Of the dying sun, their caws echoing

Through the skeletons of our city,

And filled in the sky until all was black.

by Jess Henshall