• Poetry
  • The Blade & The Ear

    ‘I shall see my soul rise out of his blade, in a candour and in an innocense’
    – John Donne

    The tree is a shelter,
    It makes a saving shadow,
    For the livestock,

    The grass moves like water in the wind,
    Everything is always fading.

    The blade becomes the ear,
    The grain becomes the bread,

    The grain flows like water through the hands.

    Everything is pieces,
    The pieces come together into forms,
    The rain on the mountain floods the towns.

    The water flows like glass across the pastures,
    The moon is on the earth and in the sky,
    Everything is always fading.

    Beauty is the sharpest pain,
    Love is the keenest beauty,
    Marrow fills the bone and makes the blood.

    The blade maims the ear,
    The fruit becomes the marrow,
    Everything is always growing.

    The blue of the sky rolls back in the evening,
    And the stars sing out a cantus,
    The sky is more light than darkness,
    Like shining grain cast over black soil,
    And they call the night night,
    And they call the day day,

    And the day calls forth the people,
    To make a temple of the earth.

    And they call the day day,
    That moves with such dominant ease,
    That burns itself into our necks,
    And into our muscles.

    And the blade becomes the ear,
    The grain becomes the bread,
    Everything is always growing.

  • Poetry
  • Tessellation

    lamp-small-image

    She made a bridge with her toes;
    Clinging uselessly to my thighs,
    And the frailty threw us around
    Mixing our hearts with
    Chocolaty brews.

    Saturday in the vineyard,
    Transparent glances all along the field walk,
    Waking naturally,
    To a flavour and a moan.

    That was the never time,
    When money spiders span oak branches
    And held meetings
    To decide the next phase of the moon.

    And we felt the blackbird’s breath,
    And the beat of it’s wings on our breasts,
    And the passing clouds over Berkshire villages
    Were as sturdy as Victorian aquaducts,
    Whilst the fruits of our crafts and our labours
    Were soft as steam in the air.

    She made a bridge with her little toes,
    As frail as frozen grass,
    But everywhere about us
    Rang out in beautiful song.

    [Photo: ‘Hiding Your Light’ by Ailsa Naumann]

  • Poetry
  • Barn Fragments

    With our hoods pulled tight,
    Working all a purpose –
    An English summer in rubber boots –
    And a fallen star under every arm
    Climbing Hinksey Hill.

    We built that fort like grown men,
    And defended it,
    Until the world shrank to the size
    Of a bee sting.

    Mirror lakes between us
    And the greying vines
    Of the parson’s wall
    Were routes to other lands,
    Trod to well-worn paths,

    And the house-martins
    Sang us songs to pretend to,
    While we drank moonshine
    from sparkling valley streams.

  • Poetry
  • Drywall

    Just around the

    Drywall, in lavender

    Pinks and sandlewood –

     

    Crumbs for church mice

    And cherry bream.

     

    We fell through an age of ages,

    Made pumpkin faces

    And drew up plans

    On napkins.

     

    In a cardboard salad

    Box soaked bitter as

    Black pepper corns.

     

    Making love on a Damsen bed,

    In the mean time,

    All the while,

     

    For absent friends

    And choices left

    unmade, like castle ruins

  • Poetry
  • Witch Hazel

    A yellow flush of leaves lights up the ground,
    Where ash and bone, the justice of the caucus,
    Got piled, enough to raise a little mound.

    And not just Matthew Hopkins saw the profits,
    And not just priests and jailers joined the chorus,
    Where magistrates in Barber walk the coppice,
    On paths that keep the tread of women bound,

    To give their lives, that sheriffs might keep office,
    And with each step they hear a crackling sound.

  • 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

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    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.