Biographical Details

Jenny Hockey’s poems have appeared in The North, Magma, The Frogmore Papers, Orbis and Dreamcatcher and in a poetry card for Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ). New Writing North awarded her a New Poets Bursary in 2013 and Oversteps Books published her debut collection, ‘Going to bed with the moon’ in 2019 (,


Cycle Ride North


Alnmouth is grey. Not snowing.

And so we set off. Even when you

forget the map, I find one in a shop.


Three days in and we’re old.

Nothing keeps out this drenching ice.

When will I start to cry, slide my bike

in a ditch, cleave to the comfort of mud?


Four days in and we arrive,

expecting a family fanfare, a measure 

of hullabaloo. It is as though we’d never  

got lost in the fog on the Lammermuir Hills

under eerie giants, the swish, swish, swish

of their blades  —


never been greeted by bin bags

held out wide for our shoes and clothes

before a landlord would let us in —


nor squeezed between lorries and verge

for miles up the roaring A1, two spectres

hunched in the spray — bounced

over cobbles to Leith, too wet for a dry café.


Five days in and we wake 

to the Edinburgh sun 

smiling through the shutters



© Jenny Hockey




Gunnerside Ghyll


and us on a confident bridle path,

alert for a gully the miners once scoured,  

hushing for lead, now our descent

to a dormitory bunk tonight.


Map-flapping wind drives us into the ghyll —

but we find no path across and I’m for the road,

the extra four miles, but it’s past three o’clock

and summer’s closing down.


We keep on trying the slope, the sky behind us

leaking light —and then there’s a man

in country green with a large-scale map

who shows us the route ahead


where dregs of sun spill into our eyes

as we clamber over the opposite edge

and can’t stop our feet from jigging and springing,

never knew turf with a bounce like this


all down a snaking path to Keld,

some kind of drug alive in our veins, 

to cup after cup of hostel tea, tea like no tea

was ever before, to shepherd’s pie and a warning


of trackless moors to come, possible fog.

We just can’t wait.


© Jenny Hockey




Front Garden


After Gregory Kearns’ ‘Cherry Tree Lane’


2 June, 1953

Bonnie Garwood and me

with my arm round her shoulders,

both of us smiling and plump.

I’m an inverted English rose,

swagged in multiple layers of skirt

to celebrate Her Majesty.


Behind us in the window 

a card baptises our house:


a song my Grandad loved.


21 September, 1996

A little landscaped plot

long overgrown, fence gone awry

and someone who’d been Dad

peering across a four-inch chain

bolted to the door.

No-one but me on his case.


15 March, 2018

Nothing shows up on Google

but a tight-lipped frontage

paved over for cars.



© Jenny Hockey





When you arrive you look

at the shoulders of fields

combed right down to the earth,


stare at shadows of clouds on the fells,

clouds like whipped whites of eggs

before the sugar’s spooned in,


watch the forehead of Ingleborough

furrow with pride, sometimes screened

by mist, sometimes a slice of shade,


notice the rickety legs of the foal 

working out how to fold down,

how to come to a halt.


When you arrive you look

at cattle planted between three fields,

wonder what stirs them to move —


but stay here a week

and you have it inside.


© Jenny Hockey