Tess Jolly works as a library assistant and facilitates creative writing workshops for children and young people.


She has been widely published in UK magazines and has been commended or placed in several competitions, including the Mslexia Poetry Competition and the Poetry Society's Stanza Poetry Competition. 


In 2015 she won the Hamish Canham Prize and was the winner of the 2016 Anne Born Prize, both run by the Poetry Society











138 x 216mm


34 pages


£6.00 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-69-5


PUB: 01/12/2017










Thus the blue hour comes is a sequence of poems which explores the  narrator’s journey away from home into a disturbing psychological world of restriction and disorder.

In a realm which could be house, forest or fairy tale, presided over by a menacing, unnamed presence, ordinary objects such as clocks, furniture and flowers become frightening and childhood games are dangerous.

Finally recognising the place for what it is, the traveller must decide if and how to return.




‘The mysterious, almost unnerving, quality of Tess Jolly’s poetry carries a cold fire into recesses of the imagination – and when we dare look with her, we glimpse treasures gleaming in the dark. These are bold, spellbinding poems.’

Peter Kenny

Author: The Nightwork  


‘With sensitivity and authenticity, Tess Jolly gives the reader an insight into a deeply troubling situation. She creates a magical world of elemental images and complex emotions. There is struggle and pain, entrapment, lies and promises.

This powerful collection is beautifully

lyrical, cathartic and very moving.  

Marion Tracy

Author: Dreaming Of Our Better Selves




Thus the blue hour comes


Tess Jolly



The Blue Hour


Why do these trees insist

on folding dark crowns inward


like heads around a bed?

They murmur and sway,


cry when the wind lifts their hair.

Then there’s the sound


of someone pleading,

a small voice


and another promise:

tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll eat.


Thus the blue hour comes.

Thus the smoke-blue vault


constructs itself from sky-blue bone

and now no longer knowing


to what it belongs

the mind falls


for its own hall-of-mirror

notions of right and wrong


and night’s a palimpsest:

blue upon blue


but never blue enough

to cross out the mistakes.



The Dance


She gives me pretty dresses to wear.

Shows me how she likes my hair


and though I promised I wouldn’t  

because I used to be such a happy thing


pushing prams of tucked-up dolls

up and down the landing


and they cannot bear to see me

so sad and pale and distant,


when the violinists lift their girl-hair bows,

bones hover before flautists’ lips,


she tugs each limb on its satin ribbon

and we begin the dance.






In dreams longed-for babies tumble from the sky.

Their shining heads are full-blown moons


and they fold limb-buds across their chests,

the stars of their would-be hands.


I stick my arms from the window  

like straws in a game of Kerplunk


but when the bright baby-marbles reach me

I’m not there. She’s pulled me out


and tucked me in. Folded the corners under.

Waking I lie very still – a pressed flower.


The tulips on my bedside table

can no longer be bothered.

Looking for My Shadow


On bright days I see it

smeared across the wall:


lengthening, shortening –

the hope I hold for my life.


On other days, despite the fairy lights

looped along the corridor,


the candles hanging their heads,

my shadow gives me the slip.


I find it hanging – a small coat –

from a hook with my name on.



The Back of My Head as Seen from Above


Her favourite view

is of the back

of my head

as seen from above.

Something about the way

my long hair

parts at the neck

moves her

and the sounds I make

when bowed like this –

acidy, guttural –

mothlight catching

the dark little hairs

on my nape

which shines

like cut glass.

She waits for me to finish

then lowers her mouth

to that bone-hollow –




She is the Abundance


She is the abundance and the munificence.

She is the hostage-taker, the voice echoing everywhere.

She is the thing growing inside me,

the rampant flowering nasturtiums.

She is bubbles pouring from rinsed mouths,

a smothering of spider-webs.

She is rust spreading like impetigo across my hands.

She is the abundance and the omniscience,

the narrator who knows my thoughts,

the ventriloquist who speaks my thoughts,

the infiltrator of dreams.  She is the rodent running

on its wheel all night, an addict

repeating the same behaviour. She is the forest

thickening around me, the bones through skin.

She is branches locking round a child who is crying

because everyone is talking in tongues,

because none of the arms is the right arm,

because the arms carried her here

and this isn’t how they said it would be.

She is the candle setting itself alight for love of the flame.

She is the burning one who stands so close

the lamps of her eyes light up my face.

She is the abundance and the malevolence:

the standing stones bearing names, bearing numbers.



The Afterlife


Light burns. Voices bruise.

The moon has passed from the sun


and birds are singing again from the trees.

Deep in the forest the wolf has stirred


and is trying to move but someone

has left a small mound of stones


in the place where she thought you were.

There is only the sea bearing stars


that mark her stilled heart,

the rivermouth unlearning her name.

9781910834695 Tess Jolly amend