Vanessa Furse Jackson

Vanessa Furse JacksonVanessa Furse Jackson comes from a family with deep roots in Devonshire. However, married to Robb Jackson, an Ohio native, she lived in the United States for almost thirty years, the majority of them spent teaching literature and writing at Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi. She has numerous published works, including a book about her great-grandfather, The Poetry of Henry Newbolt: Patriotism Is Not Enough, two collections of short stories, What I Cannot Say to You and Small Displacements, a co-authored book of poems with her husband Robb, entitled Crane Creek, Two Voices, and two novels, The Revolving Year, and The Anthropologist’s Daughter. Vanessa Jackson's newest book of poems is out in the world, from Iron Press out of Newcastle Upon Tyne. With her husband, Robb Jackson, Vanessa developed the Creative Writing Minor at TAMU-CC and is the founding editor of The Windward Review, Vol. 18.

Mule Ears Peak

(Big Bend)

Grateful for the sun’s warming in the stiffness of winter
we sit on low stones between honey mesquite and creosote,
resting after the difficult balance of a narrow trail clinkered
with lava, made dangerous by the distraction of beauty.

Listening to the dense stillness of desert silence, we hear
the clatter of a bird’s wings behind us as footsteps
approaching. For a quickened moment, our hearts beat fast
as if to warn us we’re not alone in our sanctuary after all--

as if something restless had shadowed us here, had come
to stand at our shoulders, one hand raised to shade its eyes,
to bid us gaze on the stone-spired ears that in the crafty light
have become cathedral towers thronged with spirits surely

praising the golden slant of this one minute, choired in vision only.
We blink and breathe. No bird is visible when we rise to leave. Silently
we carry the fragile shell of vision home, watching with wakeful care
our clumsy wingless feet on the shifting ground beneath us.

Yew Hill, Compton Down


On a blue and bitter January morning
my eyes streaming in the knifing wind
and the wide landscape fractures
into random shards of field and sky.

The sun tugs in vain at the taut strings
of these short days, struggling to offer light
brighter than straw. Except for the defiant
green of ivy, every shade seems dull or dying.

I think, as I stand on this high hill where
I’ve stood so often before, that we imprint
our lives over and over as if to perfect
a pattern that we never quite discern.

Below me, blackbirds toss and tumble through
the uncontrollable air. Last time I was here
it was summer and you were with me, butterflies
spreading their wings in the warm grass.