My Father’s Loft


          by Jennie Winters (*)




A reading activity we could share,

Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs.

Upswept, Maiden Hair, Pine of the Wood.


Names of trees, their alternate buds, their leaves

clinging to printed ink.

The attic creaks, its question clear.


Reminds me what I’m doing here sorting through

old piles. Alive you’d leave

For days return with books. Unread,


Your bargains flutter at the eaves, the roof,

they drift down to floorboards

as I sneak. You used to teach me


names of trees, woodland and fungi, christened

during morning walks. You’d

mouth with ease Dianthus Daisy.


Then vanish into the attic to pluck

Plantlife and Messages.

We’d read the words of flowertalk.


White Verbena, Syringa, Shepherd’s Purse.

Pages brush timber beams,

their stalks blossom on the wall.


Petals lie clustered at my feet, crusts

of rolls laden with dust.

I step on shoots and blush before


I slip on leaves. A sway that swept me up

the stair, an open door,

an overgrowth of books to share.


              © Jennie Winters





Jennie Winters was born in Termonfeckin in Ireland where she grew up. She studied English at Trinity College Dublin and she has an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths University. Her poems and prose have been published in magazines in Ireland and the UK. She lives in London where she works as a schoolteacher.