One Poem by Jan Harris

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Opening the bell jar

after Ennui, Walter Sickert, c. 1913

Sometimes, in a Sunday afternoon’s silence,
happiness enters Henry and Marie’s parlour,
whooper swans flying over Windermere,
their cries so wild the sky could not contain them.

Henry lifts a decanter from the mantelpiece,
unstoppers memories of wood smoke
through the open window of a modest room,
their moonlit bodies tentative as April snow.

On a chest of drawers, hummingbirds in a bell jar.
A memento of their honeymoon. Exotic wisps
of unspent lives. Marie places them in the sun
and watches rainbows appear in their wings.


Jan Harris’s poems have appeared in various literary journals including Acumen, Envoi, Snakeskin, and The French Literary Review, and in several anthologies, including For the Silent, (Indigo Dreams Publishing). Her first collection, Mute Swans on the Cam, is due for publication in summer 2020.

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