All come to light

In cases where there is uncertainty
all will come to light.

With furled wing, with clear wing
with dusky, rosy under-wing
all come to light.

Even in the midst of flurry
all will come to light.

Flying from the dusk, flying in the night,
High flyer, June Flyer
all come to light.

Even when obscurely marked
all will come to light.

Fringes scalloped, pinkish flush,
marbled, feathered, Cinnabar
all come to light.

When the memory deceives
all will come to light.

Alchymist, Festoon, Vapourer,
Brocade and Coronet
all come to light.

Even now when lost in dust
all will come to light.

First published in Reach Poetry January 2021

Night and day (April 2020)

I am trying to get away
from myself
but there is nowhere to hide.

Into the silence come voices,
announcing they are working,
night and day.

I believe them.
They are busy
losing themselves in screens.

We are all unmeeting ourselves.

In the morning shadows of flags
at half-mast fall
on empty city squares.

In country lanes
muscular hares pause.
At night a pink moon rises.

First published online February 2021 https://poetryandcovid.com/

Listen

Listen
I am listening.
The simple fact is.
There are no simple facts. 
The atmosphere is growing a little unstable.

Can we just be clear about this? Because I do want to be clear.
I am as clear as water running over stone.

It is not our intention to mislead. 
We want to do everything we can.

The thermals ease, we sink and dissipate, 
seeding ourselves into fragments.

The simple fact is,
what I fear is if we fail.

The simple fact is
the beating streets bewilder us.

The simple fact is
the melodies we thought we heard have vanished into willow leaves.

The simple fact is our dreams have scattered
like blown petals.

We are not listening anymore.

 

First published online February 2021 https://poetryandcovid.com/

Coastal origami

If you fold the land in half
their shores would almost touch.
Two rivers: where mud slabs roll
to the sea like harems of fat seals
Mud that drags down an unwary dog,
run off the lead, eyes now wild with fear.
Marshland — neither ground nor sea —
tenuous, it cannot hold us, unless to preserve.

The Severn, fickle as a teenager
glittered-up blue to the hills of Wales,
then sulking in a grubby grey,
prickling with the wind.
A legoland of boating
lakes, picnics, sundaes
and zimmers.
The sea unreachable.

The Stour, a straight run
from West to East and back.
Thin black sticks marking silent creeks
as our boat slid the shallows.
We’d watch the moon slip above the Ness,
the tide murmuring in
filling the dark channels
running thick like oil.

This border land between
greens and blues
is difficult to cross.
The sea either reaching in
or out, leaving
fissures in the mud
deeper than the ice-holds
of rusting iron trawlers.

I draw lines linking these and other shores
that once were home.
A zig-zag of a life.
Then fold and bend along the lines
looking for meaning.
I make a sort of angular bowl
that could, perhaps,
hold water.

 

First published in Reach Poetry 266 November 2020 and Reach Poem of the Year 2020

 

OS Map 198

There is no icon for the heavy tractor
bringing hay in from a hot field
or the green bus silently moving up the far hill.

There is no sign for a forgotten scarf
by the water’s edge
or the clack of pebbles
dragged back by the sea.

There is no line for the lark rise
or the tern’s knife dive.

There is no colour for the echo
of a conversation on the beach
as the mist slips in.

Only the returning path is mapped
and an almost empty car park.

First published in Reach 255 December 2019

February morning

The dawn sun stretches behind black oaks
stroking apple trees blanketed in lichen.

The washed grass shakes itself clean
the pond breathes, yawning with spawn.

The falling moon lights up the chimney’s face
as it rises from the thatch.

And I steam against the cold wall
sipping my small piece of the morning.

First published in Moor Poets Volume iv  

Visitor

You picked wild garlic, dandelion leaves, early nettles,

pennywort and primroses to make a salad.

A bowlful of riverbank.

You kept it green and ready in a Tupperware for lunch.

But you forgot it in the rush to catch the train,

leaving my questions unanswered.

Now the primroses shiver under misted plastic

like the pale faces of children

drowned in green water.

First published in Reach 257 February 2020

Cracking walnuts

I sat low at a linen table
watching your long soft palm
squeezing two walnuts.
Rolling them together.
A hard hollow scrape.
Pressing fleshy mounts
into the gnarl.

I could not look at you.
Frightened of seeing pain.
Only saw knuckles tighten
with this gasp of strength
that came from another life.

I held my own breath
as your press groaned,
cracking a cranium
against its own wall.

A quiet implosion and release.

You opened a rhubarb hand,
walnutsfull of dust and nut oil,
peppered with shard.
Held it still, for me
to pick small, sweet pieces
with fingertips relieved
to touch the hand
that was mine again.

First published in Moor Poets Volume 3

The Chinese cat

The Chinese Cat

The Chinese cat is on the mantelpiece,
Cat on the mantelpieceits stone back softened with touch.
A souvenir or a totem
buried in a grave.

It holds the cat’s elusive comfort
scratching at the door
to find a soft stroked lap,
only to slip half seen
behind the angle of a wall.

These worn things will survive us
and comfort as we turn them over in our palm.
The rings in their boxes,
the much read book,
the cat on the mantelpiece.

But you are not within my reach.
Away, in your own place,
where I will never stroke
the blue vein of your forearm,
nor you
lightly touch my back.

Shortlisted and published by Norfolk Poetry Competition 2012

The crossing

A broad reach in a sail-white sun
we crossed four furlongs of the Stour
to find another shore.
Warmed with wine, with bones of wood
with pebbles smooth as cream
we came back creased with salt and smiles,
and ran our fingers deep in green.

Still beating, hauling, tacking home
from there to here to now
I steer you softly to our room
and fold you in my arms.
I breathe a tiny wordless breeze
so you can cross alone.

First published in Saravasti 024 Sept/Oct 2012, Indigo Dreams Publishing