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Jacqueline Saphra
Jacqueline Saphra

Jacqueline Saphra is a screenwriter, playwright and poet. Her poems have been frequently anthologised and she has won several awards including first prize in The Ledbury Poetry Competition. She teaches poetry at Morley College and The Poetry School. Her pamphlet, Rock’n’Ro ll Mamma was published by Flarestack and an illustrated book of prose poems is forthcoming from The Emma Press in 2014. Her collection The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye) was developed with funding from ACE and nominated for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.

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Jacqueline Saphra Poetry

Cimex Lectularius



I have learned this week that the common bed bug

can survive for a year without a meal and that Alzheimer’s


may be caused by fast food, which reminds me of David Blaine

suspended in a box above the Thames without so much as


a single snack while people pelted him with sausages

and golf balls, how he descended, woozy after 42 days


murmuring ‘I love you all’ as if he had forgotten, which

causes me to wonder at the hunger and delusions of


the loveless, like that anorexic girl in black who jogs

past me every afternoon but never lets me smile at her,


which leads me back intractably to longing and denial.

Perhaps it is something to emulate, the bedbug’s stoicism,


how it lives reviled and passive in the cracks, waiting

with quiet certainty for any fool to lie down in the dark.



Commended in the Ledbury Poetry Competition.





Charm for Late Love



Here we go again, my old crow.

I’ll ride your boneback, edge and turn,

up where the windsongs coil and glow,

feathers fall and currents churn.

Candle  Gutter  Flare and Burn


Let the stars drip sodden light.

We'll find the shine once more, we'll name

our quarry, rattle it through night:

let's taste the blood of the ancient game.

Candle  Snuff  Gutter and Flame


Let's wing it, old crow, deny the laws

of chance. How hard it is to catch

and hold a joy in yellowed claws,

to risk the slip, outface the crash.

Candle  Gutter  Snuff and Ash


Let your straitened wings unfold,

eclipse the moon with a surge and sweep

through grip and glint of marrowcold.

Let's hunt the heart we'll never keep.

Candle  Gutter  Snuff and Sleep



First published in Magma.





The Anchor



Sometimes I imagine you dead, and then

I remember open sea from a life before:

that tease of horizon, lovely

inconstant monsters of the deep:

strange, because I love you and the force

of that love is like the drag

of an anchor

tied to a boat

that was once at the mercy of the tides.

This is the chain.
I remember the swift unwinding, each fat link

chafing against the next,

iron claws that burrowed into the sanctuary

of the ocean bed.

Sometimes I dream a sailor's dream:

eternal solitude and water, pregnant stretches of sail,

a salt-skinned sea beneath me, breathing

and pulsing like an animal.



Won second prize in the Essex Poetry Competition.


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