Ann Timoney Jenkin grew up in wartime London. She has lived in Adelaide since 1960. Her poetry and short stories have been widely published in anthologies and magazines and broadcast on the ABC. She writes children’s stories, has worked as a professional storyteller, and given poetry workshops. Her first collection of poetry, Midwinter Light was published in 1995 by Wakefield Press.
More recently, Ann has worked as a freelance journalist. Her articles on a variety of subjects have been published in national newspapers, including the Australian, and in the monthly magazine, Quadrant.
Ann also works as an editor and edited the prize winning biography, Christina Stead, by Hazel Rowley.
Ann is currently working on a series of stories based on her wartime childhood.
Ann’s poems have appeared in publications including The Inner Courtyard: A South Australian Anthology of Love Poetry (ed. Anne Brewster and Jeff Guess – Friendly Street/Wakefield Press 1990); The Sea’s White Edge (ed. Paul Kavanagh – Butterfly Books 1991) (Winner and runners up in the Mattara Poetry Prize); Paterson Literary Review 1992 (ed. Maria Mazziotti Gillan – Paterson College, New Jersey USA); Arrival Poets Press Spring Collection (Arrival Press, Peterborough, UK 1993); Tuesday Night Live: 15 years of Friendly Street (ed. Jeri Kroll and Barry Westburg – Friendly Street/Wakefield Press 1993) and Hope and Fear – An Anthology of SA Women’s Writing (ed. Anne Chittleborough, Annie Greet and Sue Hosking – Flinders University 1994).
grow where they’re planted.
we flower in the wrong place.
into the fabric:
using only colours
which seem to match.
But light finds the shadows
left over bits
We will grow old in this place
where insistent sun
bleaches the memory
Yet our children feel at home
and grow impatient
with mothers who need road maps
and are frightened of the dark.
From Friendly Street No. 15 and Tuesday Night Live
Postcard from Lyon
Is that you in the distance
walking towards me with a large black umbrella
hiding your face? Insistent
rain puddles round your feet:
never closer the whole rest of our lives.
Preserved in sepia, an ancient street survives,
a child becomes a stranger.
Do you see the street lamp
high above your head?
This old city slouches through a cold November dusk
as old walls yawn and spread long shadows closer.
Still you tramp
as motionless as footprints set in stone.
Does the coming darkness hide
what you atone for?
From Friendly Street No. 17
Did you look at your new-mother’s face in the mirror
to see if the change were visible
the way women do
when they lose their virginity?
After you told me
I looked at your grandmother’s wedding photograph
with my Victorian grandmother you never knew:
Great-Grandmama, her long dark skirts still
brushing shiny black-laced shoes,
hands clasped around a handkerchief for sixty years
her plump face almost smiling.
Old when I was born, she lived in
horse and carriage days. Charles Dickens died
when she was four and learning to roll
a wooden hoop along the grimy London gutters.
Toughened on Irish stew and soda bread
her brother the last of the bare-knuckle fighters;
East-End dockers – a tough gene pool.
She lived through two world wars; her first
two babies died, she had six more.
I was her youngest grandchild, softened her
tough skin – she bought me sweets and let me stir
those Christmas puddings
we still prefer.
From Friendly Street No. 16