Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021: The Sofa

A woman full of hope comes home

She puts her bag on the sofa

Her bag spills open and out tumbles her phone.

She puts down the shape of her step-daughter asleep on the sofa

The night her daddy died.

Then she lays down the feeling of arms around her

While Liane Carrol sings the blues.

She smells after-shave on the cushions.

She puts down the anguish of loss and the enclosure of family.

Her book falls open on the sofa.

She puts down forgetfulness and erasure.

She wishes she could dance all night

And sleep like a baby in a goose-feather bed.

She adds up 30 plus 9 and puts 39 on the sofa.

She puts down all her favourite songs

And hears them singing in her head.

She crumples a photo of herself looking at him

While he holds the baby.

She lays down the ghost of a man

Who said he never stopped loving her

Though sometimes it felt like he did.

The sofa is feeling the weight

Of all this emotion

It sinks a bit but it doesn’t give way

Poem recorded as part of Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2021. Used by permission of author.

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2021 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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Jehane Markham

I started out my writing career in the 70's writing drama and adapting modern classics for the radio. I have written one film for tv under the Play for Today series. I have self published 4 chap books and in 2000 my late husband and I started a company called Rough Winds which produced and recorded audio tapes of poetry. I worked with a jazz trio for ten years and we made two albums. I have been running poetry workshops in London and Norfolk.


A special thank you to our WordView 2021 poets.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Imtiaz Dharker, says: "An idea that began as a response to the world shutting down has, joyfully, become a way to invite the whole world in. It has been exciting to see the entries come in from different countries, from marginalised voices, from people of all backgrounds who now know this space belongs to them. My fellow judges and I were struck by the immediacy of experience and commitment to language in the winning entries. It's also good to think that the rest of the entries will continue to be seen as an invaluable record of our times."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2021 playlist