Flood

Flood


Flood

 

We did not see the swollen river

overtop its banks, failed by the

modest bow of its channel, its

traffic doubled by the bludgeon

of three consecutive moonrises

under rain, waters earth-brown.

 

Instead, we passed a day later,

taken by the bleached streamers

of torn-up grass, stretched like

comet-tails from the lowest boughs

of thornbushes, calm swirls of sand

making fish-loops across our path.

 

 

first published in Southlight Magazine, issue 22, 2017

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January

JANUARY


January

 

Scraping back the steady,

now matted, accumulation of

leaf-fall from three darkening

 

months, and surfaced today

with a softly-glazed frosting,

reveals the yellow-green

 

points of galanthus, crocus,

narcissus, in a silent, cloaked

gathering of the faithful,

 

staking their futures on a

promised spring, still more

than a moon’s cycle away.

 

first published in Blue Heron Review, issue 7, 2017

 

Clear Poetry Anthology 2017

A fine way to end the year would be reading through this year’s Clear Poetry Anthology, put together by CP editor Ben Banyard. It’s a bittersweet feeling this year, mind you, because although one of my poems is included for the second year running (Clapham Junction, which can be found on page 13), it comes with the knowledge that Ben has decided to call time on Clear Poetry.

Total respect, Ben, for all the hard work you’ve put in running such a great online venue for both aspiring and established poets. And best wishes with furthering your own poetry endeavours.

 

The third and final Clear Poetry Anthology is now available to download and read, free of charge.

via Clear Poetry Anthology 2017 — Clear Poetry

Before winter’s first frost

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Before winter’s first frost

 

an unprecedented silence is combing the air,

and colours are forgetting themselves below

 

darkening rafts of sky, a universe-deep in stars,

reaching in between the crowded roofscapes.

 

Perhaps a milk-jug moon is flooding monochrome

ghostlight over the cupped hands of the valley,

 

laying up shadows with fuse-wire precision.

At the appointed moment, a page is calmly turned,

 

and a hush of ice heaves crystals through

the geometry of the soil, or feathers its way

 

across the windows of cars on every street,

its signature written on a contract, now honoured.

 

first published in Young Ravens Literary Review, issue 5, 2016

Poems published in Issue #6 of Neologism Poetry Journal

LeanMy thanks to editor Christopher Fields for taking a punt on four of my poems for the latest issue of Neologism Poetry Journal. This issue is – in Christopher’s words – “a little lean”, which I’m guessing could be a reference to the fact that it contains the work of only two poets. Alongside some fine work by Megan Mealor, you can find my wee quartet – Philadelphia Skyline, Your country, Crows and The quietening down – by clicking here.

Image: JimboChan

Four poems published in Southlight #22

I’ve recently received a copy of issue 22 of Southlight Magazine, which contains four of my poems – “Planting Cyclamen”, “Hinterland”, “Flood” and the following homage to the finest roasting potato there is.

Many thanks again to Southlight’s editors John Burns, Vivien Jones and Angus Macmillan for choosing to include my poems in their fantastic magazine.


Arran Victory

 

After the long, silent, underground campaign,

the cut-down stems have all surrendered,

sucked back to ash-coloured paper tubes,

poking like rifle barrels through the mounds of soil.

 

It is October. The exhausted sun struggles

to shoo away the dew, and thinks of elsewhere.

A fork unearths the tubers, purple as new bruises,

shining impossibly like a clutch of alien eggs, but

 

hours later, in the roasting pan, they mellow

back to a prosaic brown, with russet blushes,

salt-crusted crunches around the soft flesh,

that moment of glory brief, but unforgettable.

 

 

4 a.m.

Choked with leaves

4 a.m.

Finally, we fell away and into fractious sleep,
to the sound of rain, gentle as the ebbing
of each dark layer in a long, splintered night.

The heart’s gutters choke with stripped leaves,
damming the torrent of tired, uneasy words.
Another day awaits with nothing free, nothing

resolved, but your familiar breath across my ear
is like the first footsteps taken inside a new temple,
breaking the seal on an overwhelming peace.

 

first published in Poppy Road Review, 2016

Traffic report

Road ahead closed

Traffic report

From here you can see the future
– a free-market version of it –
but not exactly where it ends;
only where the blinking red eyes
of its tail-lights disappear, inching
like hope into the underpass.
Bunched in its sneering wake,
we are all indignant but resigned,
each rehearsing their part in a
symphony of rage. We’ve evolved
to breathe in nitrogen oxides,
metabolize particulate matter.
Somehow, none of us is where
we think we really should be.

first published in Thirteen Myna Birds, 2017

Béchamel Sauce

Bechamel Sauce


Béchamel Sauce

Somewhere within me I rarely choose to visit,
I suspect this is perhaps not going to work, and

she’s insisting it should only ever be made
with all-purpose flour, though I’ve been

coping fine with cornflour, or store-brand
packet mixes for years, and it comes out OK

three, possibly, four times out of seven.
And everything in her kitchen matches like

it was all bought with a flawless shrug
and a customary swipe of the store card.

But then we share uncannily similar tastes
in music – Wagner, Kid Creole – and I like

the way she likes the way I smell, even if
I don’t. I’m rafted to this quaint belief that

if you put the work in, there’s no limit
to the lumps that can’t be smoothed out.

 

first published in Cacti Fur, 2016