Harold – Jennie Farley


When I can’t sleep I pull the blankets
tight around me and grip the reins.
Harold’s antlers spread a shadow
over the ceiling. I shake the bridle,
the bells tinkle, and off we go through
the moonlit window, past the tool shed,
the bird bath, over the fence.
Harold’s antlers are frosted velvet,
his hooves flick snow flurries around us,
his comfortable bulk swaying
from side to side.

Into a world of snow and silence,
pine trees, bushes silvered with frost
and ice, the sky bright with stars.
Flares light a rutted white track
as we pull up at a staging post,
greeted with a smile by a person
coddled in furs who crouches
beside a small wood fire,
playing notes on a slim reed pipe
like no tune I’ve ever heard.

A lady with yellow plaits
in a bright wool skirt bids us
pause a while, brings a bucket of water
and a lichen sandwich for Harold,
a mug of cocoa for me.

We set off again. I find a box
of Turkish Delight and an embroidered
doll tucked beneath my rugs.

The sky pales to pink. I nestle down
as Harold clops gently homeward
taking me to my morning bed.


Jennie Farley is a published poet, workshop leader and teacher living in Cheltenham.
Her work has featured in magazines including Prole, Under the Radar, The Interpreter’s House, and been performed at festivals.  Her first collection was Her Grandmother Skating(Indigo Dreams Publishing 2016) followed by Hex (IDP 2018). She is working on a short pamphlet The Gymslip Girls.

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