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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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

 

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.