Below are some examples of Jo Brandon poetry:

The Learned Goose


“There is a gorgeousness to the collection which confidently encompasses mystery and clarity, menace and seduction, roguishness and solemnity.”

– Rachel Piercy, Poet




Forget what you’ve been told

The kindliest fallacy
is that you should always keep things simple.
Say what’s in your heart!
But romance is a craft;
the reason we sparked fire,
spat words
and searched for obscene metaphor
in dull places.
Tell me, do you want to be a lover?
Are you ever excited by shopping lists,
or the prospect of writing thank you cards
for hoards of wedding gifts?
No, because you’ve been told
that love is mishap and adventure.
I offer up the true fundamentals:
Lesson one: you must accept
all true love is cut short –
there will never be sufficient years.
Time refuses to expand
so you must make room in your chest.
Lesson two: real love is painful,
a cigarette butt to the heart.
Any loss of love will burn right through you.
Lesson three: love does not equal happiness.
Happiness apes love,
it is a new-fangled measure of longevity.
If love always equates to happiness
I’m afraid you’re still
doing it all wrong.


From Phobia:




‘These poems stay with you; warmth infused with the extraordinary everyday… spun together in a kind of classical enchantment.’

– James Nash, Poet







These Bones

It’s strange to see your bones, smoke-white
and bright, know finally what you’re made of
though you took biology at school
you expect to see your heart resting mid-chest
like a set of bloody, unfeathered angel’s wings
and you think you see your soul as a shadow on the film
(because even now when you’re asked to draw God
you give him a beard).
They turn the sun-box off and I am a blue-black space
“there don’t seem to be any fractures”
“no breaks or splinters?” – I step up close
eager to light it up again.


Our Lady

She paints Mary over and over
her fingertips are stained blue
and gold. Mary’s eyes are always
sketched with a squint as if
she is blind or looking into the centre
of a sun. Her lips are always grey
as if she is painting out Mary’s colour,
saving her from accusations of feeling
anything other than pain.

I commissioned her to paint me a smiling Mary
in red and black, Warhol style
give her the look, I said, she would have had
the day Joseph believed her story, lent his name.
She divided the canvas into four, an eye, and an eye,
half a cupid’s bow, the corner of a mouth
held apart by her lines. She looked pleased
“Mary couldn’t smile without bearing the weight of the cross”
I was informed. I left her to those broad angels and
down-turned mouths she preferred.