• Poetry
  • Raw Milk

    Starting around Culham or Drayton
    Squeezing through cracks in the window
    Comes old Jane again with her gait and her apron
    (Fried bread, boiled cabbage, stewed plum)
    And Andy, back with the cattle in tow –
    The track an inch thick with their dung.

    Heaving low udders on muscles like steaks,
    Lining up for the pump, for the tray.
    Driving with hazel canes and back aches,
    Smelling of tweed and pipe smoke,
    The young men, already resigned to the day,
    Though it’s hardly an hour since it broke.

    The cool mornings kept them alert
    it seemed, and they never mentioned the burn –
    The finger-nerves pinched from the effort
    Of shifting small bales to the stable,
    While the cattle were filling the churn,
    Save a pail or two, raw, for the table.

    And when there’s been spreading at Basingstoke
    They’re back in the hall, black with oil.
    She’s aiming the poker at smouldering coke,
    And they’re scattering brambles and peat
    On the floor, but the humming of toil
    Is drowned in the pour of hot gravy on meat.

  • Poetry
  • Hay Fever

    Tickly air – and fertile,
    Elongated perianth and bract.
    The pollen passes smoothly through the style.

    The pollen goes a country mile,
    The ovum and the pollen interact –
    Prickly air. And fertile

    Spanish fruits, plucked meanwhile,
    Are plump to bursting, thirstily attacked.
    The pollen passes sweetly through the style.

    Blood red stains the cotton carelessly defiled,
    Grass bleached yellow, soil grey and cracked,
    From sticky air – and fertile.

    Pins and needles, heat stroked to simmering denial,
    Dappled shades of happiness and black.
    The pollen, slowly as the dial, tickles: a delightful trial.

    Stings but brings a smile.
    Elongated perianth attracts.
    Sultry air – and fertile,
    The pollen passes smoothly through the style.

  • Poetry
  • Over Watered

    ‘Sow early for august fruits.

    Soil: loose, well drained’.

    Over worried, weather vain;

    Suffocated roots.

     

    Cradling the care-worn pressed,

    Ladling the seal

    Of a novice, drunken zeal

    ‘Pon such nascent blessed.

     

    Curling stem & brittle leaf,

    Steady morning wilt.

    Flourishing – a tardy guilt,

    Breathing into grief.

  • Poetry
  • Sum

    Finding,

    As in January waking finds a snow

    That whispers for the wintr’ing seeds to grow.

     

    Turning,

    Like a rolling mist that turns to frost

    But’s gone tomorrow;

     

    Little gained, or lost.

  • Poetry
  • The Scenic Route

    P1014110 small 2 colour edited 3

     

    The scenic route, for budding leaves

    Collecting static light

    From muddy pools, and talk disclosing

    Only veiled sight.

     

    The long way ’round, past angel stations

    Past the barrow next,

    Then homeward turning at the cross

    To find some earthly rest.

     

    Homeward! To that last enclave,

    That attic wilderness.

  • Poetry
  • Vervain

    After hours
    Grey on grey, tumbling come
    Some seven sevenths of a man, or more
    To deliquesce as ripples on a winter drum
    Or be as were before

    And the burnt leaves
    Of la femme verveine
    Adopt a sagging pose
    Only surrendering their name
    To black soil; lachrymose

    Knowing that we
    Before the tears of Isis,
    Fell benumbed
    With holy sulpher, razor sweat
    She cried, and we succommed

    As our man drew
    The shadow of the Spring
    About his veiny border,
    Although the desert march was dry
    Still fire brought the water

    Till only those
    With tempered iron
    fortified remain
    But in the rain, I still can taste,
    O Juno, sweet vervain.