Poetry Book Society pamphlet choice

Trailer is a series of meditative poems about the poet’s family history, and the way the past travels with us. The poems – like paintings by Chagall – stir up time and place to dissolving point, honouring the material world but not taking it for what it is. Or isn’t. Trailer is a memorial to the poet’s grandparents and great grandparents.

Anna Woodford makes it lively and new, and in the way of the best of poems, she starts with the specific and takes off.

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Book cover for Trailer by Anna Woodford

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Five Leaves Publications
Publication date: 16 November 2007
ISBN: 9781905512317


Dad has always driven slowly
as though he has always been
dragging this trailer, full of loose ends
from his childhood that he can’t
let go. The trailer follows the car
at a jaunty angle, when Mum isn’t looking
over her shoulder, the trailer turns
into Gran, hanging on
to the bumper, her head down, her wings raised
like a Rolls Royce angel’s,
when Mum looks back she will see
just the trailer and the last of the boxes.

Dad sticks to the back lanes
of his childhood, crawling along as though he is
crawling through treacle. He is speeding
in a bicycle lane when the police
catch up. They don’t see Gran
or Dad or Mum, just an old couple
with a trailer and hurry them on with the trailer
rattling behind like bones or cans
tied to a wedding car. Dad will stop dead eventually,
when Mum follows, all the trailer’s loose ends will spill
over into my living room where Gran’s clock is
already losing time on the mantelpiece.