On Calico Wings


By Jan Hedger

Publisher : SilverWood Books

ABOUT Jan Hedger

Jan Hedger
Jan Hedger first started writing poetry nine years ago in her hometown of Birmingham; returning there after many years living away in Berkshire, Sussex and the North East of Scotland. Leaving Birmingham for Wiltshire, her poetry continued to flourish and develop whilst working at Swindon C More...


Jan Hedger's new collection, a journey through poetry, emphasises the myriad of emotion that life brings: past and present, from love, loss, to emotion in war, in dreams and hope. The sea, always an inspiration to Jan, features in many of the poems, reflecting in its moods and our emotions.
£1 from the sale of this book will be donated to Gardening Leave, a registered charity which provides Horticultural Therapy for ex-Service personnel.

From the foreword, written by poet AR Lewis: 'On Calico Wings', the title of this long awaited second book by Jan Hedger, develops beyond the content of her fi rst book 'Words in Imagination'. The author’s writing includes many aspects of life today, and shares comparisons with the past, showing great sympathy with all her subjects. Her nature poems contain word pictures to compare with the great poets of the past, yet remain true to today’s way of life. Gentle humour, love of music, coupled with real empathy and understanding for those affected by war, military personal, their families and friends, reaching out to all who read her work. 'On Calico Wings' is a book which contains poems deserving, like all good poetry, to be performed to a live audience and the author often does this. However, this book can equally be enjoyed as a travelling companion, to be opened and pondered upon, on the journey through life.

When Jan invited me to review On Calico Wings, I was delighted:  Jan Hedger has a real gift for visual imagery and putting the reader in place of the poet.  The book is beautifully crafted and well written and is full of humanity and emotion.  The book takes you on a spiritual journey of highs and lows and reveals something of the poet’s life, emotions which everyone has experienced and somehow Jan puts it all into perspective.

The book is divided into several sections, the first being Calico, which is my favourite poem of all in this section.  Calico is an amazing poem and everything is perfect.  Close your eyes and you have feel the waves moving and is a wonderfully scripted journey of love with repetition of the name Calico like the waves webbing and then flowing – quite brilliant.  You can feel the tide of Calico’s life repeated in the ebb and flow of her name.

Wedding Dress Shopping is another masterful poem and the two lines at the end sum up everything very well:

“Eyes meet in a moment of clarity,

This is the one.”

Jan has summed up what most of us believe when we choose our special dress so well.

Of course, no Jan Hedger book would be complete without some of the touching poems of forces poetry, a site for the armed forces to publish their work.   In this section Shot at Dawn stands out.  If there is one poem I would urge someone to read from this section a least once, preferably more, it is Too Young.  This poem actually made me cry, it is so poignant:  how many boys were put in such a position?  It speaks volumes to and I hope it does to you.

With this book, Jan has reached the top in the art of writing poetry:  On Calico Wings is not old-fashioned, but has more humanity and emotion in it than I have ever felt.  It is a triumph:  a book to make you laugh, cry, feel sad and elated, happy, but most of all I hope it makes people think. 

I have always been a fan of Jan’s writing and when you have read this anthology, I know you will too.

Bobbie Coelho


2nd January 2010