Florence Cox, née Atkinson, has been a dedicated poetry writer since her teens. Born and educated in Ipswich, she studied French and Italian at Leeds University, cycled solo from Ipswich to South West France in 1975 ended up working on the western side of Paris for the world’s leading inflatable boat company. She left Paris for Felixstowe in 1981 and has lived there ever since, zigzagging between teaching and secretarial work while raising her three children. She enjoys poetry and folk singing in her spare time.
Florence Cox was one of the poets featured at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Masterclass in 1996 with her poem “Florence”. She also participated in Ruth Padel’s Poetry Workshop on Radio 4 in November 2012, with her poem “Darkness”. A regular participant in poetry readings in Suffolk, she has been encouraged by the East Suffolk Poetry Writers’ Workshop, the Poetry Party and Suffolk Poetry Society. She has received twelve commendations and two Third Prizes in the Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition since 1993, a commendation from Liz Lochhead in the Bridport poetry competition in 2014, and in 2016, First Prize in the Pronto poetry competition run by The Poetry School at Poetry in Aldeburgh. She is currently Chair of Suffolk Poetry Society.
Picture: Derek Adams
List of publications (self-published)
Dead Wife’s Dresses (2000)
Sap and Stones (2007)
Jetsam Walks (2010)
I only sat next to him
for the view,
the huge windscreen of the coach
offering Ireland between sweeps of wiper
as we ate up miles of a deserted motorway.
His pale blue-trousered legs
fell apart as he fell into a doze, one leg
softly, helplessly leaning against mine,
till his eyelids fluttered open
and he jerked away with embarrassment.
The rhythm of gentle pressure,
followed by an agonized jerk of propriety,
of Catholic conscience,
punctuated almost every mile
from Dublin to Galway,
till I longed to say,
Don’t worry! It’s not a sin
for one tired knee
to rest against another!
(At least, it didn’t feel like that to me.)
But these staccato separations
rattling my repose made me think
I ought to act. Like a contortionist,
I dangled one of my legs in the central aisle,
and crossed the other
>over the top of my rucksack,
which stood on the floor at my feet.
Then at last
his sleep-walking leg fell harmlessly
against the side of my rucksack
and rested quietly there, migrating done,
limb without sin, amen.
Copyright © 2013 Florence Cox
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