Jane Routh

Jane Routh has published three collections with Smith|Doorstop. Circumnavigation won the Poetry Business Competition and was shortlisted for a Forward Prize for best first collection; Teach Yourself Mapmaking was a PBS recommendation. She won the 2009 Academi Cardiff Competition and the 2011 Strokestown International Competition, and contributes reviews and non-fiction to several publications.

Jane’s 2014 prose book, Falling into Place, celebrates wildlife, weather and work in north west England, where she’s lived for over forty years and where she manages woodlands.


Step theory

You thought it would happen the way
ash trees have taken over the view,
year on year higher

and more of them, until one day you turn
and notice there’s no horizon
(though you like how they finger the sky)

or the way the rug by the window has faded,
strong reds shading off to grey-brown
(and that’s all right too, that quiet shade)

or the way the heel of a shoe wears down
or the tines of your garden fork shine and shorten
over the years, or how a mattress hollows to fit you:

you thought the body would change
like the heart does, little by little
giving up what it loved and content with less

– though it’s hard to think about age
when the sun shines. You thought changes
would be imperceptible; of no import. Well now:

Return to Issue One