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If I Was Not


If I was not,

dark nights,

still seas,

no sparkling frosts,

or night-time shadowed trees.


If I was not,

no hunter’s light,

or owl’s haunting flight,

or silver path across a darkened sea.


If I was not,

the weeks would cease to be,

and months’ redundancy

would change the shape of years,

and time would cease to be.



© Jeni Braund

Picture 10823614, photograph by Andrew Besley, circa 1970s, image copyright Mary Evans / Andrew Besley Collection



Jeni Braund has been writing autobiographical poems since her childhood in the West Country during the 1940s and 1950s, with early titles including ‘Westward Ho!’ and ‘Child of the Sea’. Her childhood was free of modern-day restrictions, her playground being the cliffs, rocks, and beach that bordered her North Devon village home.  Nursing, marriage, family life and a growing faith have also shaped her work, as have her Open University studies in Psychology and Comparative Religion. Her 40-year career in nursing began at the age of 17; during this period death and dying became a specialist subject following a six-week residential course at St Christopher’s Hospice studying under Dame Cicely Saunders. Here Jeni found her teaching vocation, developing courses for professional nurses. Her collected poems, Heartlands, was published in 2016; all proceeds from the book go to the Anthony Nolan blood cancer charity for their lifesaving work.