House of two trees

House

 

House of two trees

 

I see it every day through a car window.

It ghosts alongside like a stalled memory,

age uncertain, between drawn curtains

of teenaged birch, once autumn’s first gale

has shaved away their weak, buttery leaves.

Only its gable ends remain, a pair of

house-shaped symbols of wet, mossy stone,

linked by a low skirt of rubble, no sign of

a doorway or chimney-breast from this distance.

In each of what would’ve been its two rooms,

opportunist sycamores reach up beyond

the level of the eaves, and must form

a roof of sorts in full, late-summer leafspread,

but now join the hunched cluster of skeletons.

Sometimes there are rooks, crows, neither.

I return eventually to our home, twelve years young,

and backgrounded by those half-dozen acres

of pine, poplar, oak – their own sycamores too,

whose diaspora of seeds choke our garden

and gutters with saplings every spring.

And I can’t help wondering about time, the Earth,

the waiting game they’re playing with us,

the winning hands they’re inevitably holding.

 

first published in Liminality, issue 11, 2017

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Poem published in The Clearing

Photo0603

The Clearing is a fascinating and beautiful online journal published by Little Toller Books that “offers writers and artists a dedicated space in which to explore and celebrate the landscapes we live in”. I’m really delighted to have just had one of my poems – “Spit” – posted in the journal, alongside fine pieces by three other poets, Garry Mackenzie, Mark Howarth Booth and Oliver Southall.

You can read all four poems here.

Poem in The Pangolin Review

Not only is The Pangolin Review named after my favourite creature I’ve never seen, it’s editor Amit Parmessur has been kind enough to publish one of my poems in the latest issue.

You can find “An old friend” by clicking here and scrolling down about two-thirds of the way, though you’re very likely to get distracted as you go. My thanks to Amit for including my poem.

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

Going Home

Going Home

Going Home

Falling asleep on our journey back tonight,
you didn’t see how the sky was starred with a thousand geese,
spearing off in confused fragments to all directions;
some the usual south, others west, others even north-west.

Your eyelids flickered at the horizon instead, painting yourself a brief dream,
far away from the violent uncertainty of these last three days,
the astonished air still bruised with unspent cloud, above the washed earth,
the rivers of angry traffic still fighting their way home.

 

First published in Allegro Poetry Magazine, issue 13, 2017

Why we are not birds yet

Why we are not birds yet

Why we are not birds yet

It is not solely the weight of our bones,
and the seriousness of the marrow crowding
their cavities, leaving no room for air.

Nor is it the sorry failure of our shoulders,
too pre-occupied with the burdens of
reason, guilt and all those things we’d

prefer not to know, to ever operate wings.
We may grow flight feathers, and knit them with
wax strong enough for orbiting the sun, because

we are amazing, after all, especially to ourselves,
yet still we cannot circulate comfortably in
three dimensions, even through the fine skin

of our atmosphere. Our attempts to do so will
ultimately be the death of us. The only choice
we have, if any, is how quickly to fall.

 

first published in Rat’s Ass Review, Fall-Winter 2016 Issue

Damage options

DO

Damage options

 

Sometimes there is no sign of a struggle.
Perhaps they are brought to the house already dead,
molested a little, and then abandoned.
They seem more forlorn this way, inert and muted,
like they simply fell from the sky and managed
to land underneath this particular chair in the kitchen,
or in the middle of apparently random spaces.

It’s different when they’ve put up a fight, however
futile; the scattering of fragments will spread
to several rooms. The heavier feathers
hang like jetsam, beached and unmoving,
while the down, with its filigree whisperings,
takes flight whenever a door opens, almost lighter
than the air it would’ve been used to capture.

 

first published in Mad Swirl, 2016

Two poems at Allegro Poetry Magazine

Bird graffiti underpass

Issue 13 of Allegro Poetry Magazine has just been posted online, and includes two of my poems, both of which have bird elements to them, coincidentally. Many thanks to editor Sally Long for choosing to publish Going Home and Empty nest in this issue.

You can find both poems by clicking here and scrolling down to just before halfway (or alternatively, read them all – there’s some really great stuff there!).

New poems at The Open Mouse and The Poetry Shed

Two poems of mine with capital city settings have been published on separate websites in the last week. Finding a dead Waxwing on Braid Road has Edinburgh as its backdrop, and was posted on Colin Will’s poetry site The Open Mouse.

SW12 – a reflection on a train journey through south London – was published today at The Poetry Shed by Abegail Morley.

Big thanks to Colin and Abegail for their support!

Edinburgh