Mrs Winter’s Jump

We’re coming out
from under
dismal. The sun is up
and so are the children,
mucking about
with skateboards.
He’s out the back
playing ‘Mrs Winter’s
Jump’. And jump
she does. She
gathers up
her rusty skirts
and crosses all the
crooked space
between us.

Jenny Bornholdt’s most recent collection is Mrs Winter’s Jump, (Godwit, Random House, 2007).  She has written seven other books of poetry, including a selected poems: Miss New Zealand (Victoria University Press, 1997). Jenny was the Te Mata Estate New Zealand Poet Laureate in 2005/2006.

Bornholdt comments: ‘ “Mrs Winter’s Jump” is the title of a piece of music by English composer John Dowland (1563-1626). My husband played this on the guitar late at night during a year when I was largely confined to bed, or hospital, because of severe hip pain. This poem was written as I began to recover – it was summer, we were outside, and Greg was playing “Mrs Winter’s Jump”. I’d always liked the title, imagining a woman gathering up her skirts and leaping – something I wasn’t able to do at the time. Also, during a period of illness people can become distant from each other as each tries to cope with what’s happening, and on this particular afternoon I felt some hope that life could be alright again. So yes, it’s a happy poem.’

Poem source details >



New Zealand Book Council writer file
Random House
Victoria University Press author page
nzepc—New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre: online work
New Zealand Electronic Text Centre: online work