Hinterland

Hinterland

Hinterland

 

They say it doesn’t rain here much, often, but

when it does, canopies of merciless cloud snuff out

 

every last square of the sky, hanging about the fields

like a quarrel, forgotten without ever being resolved,

 

and empty themselves in angled swipes that paste

both barley and nettles to the red earth, bleeding into

 

the leather boots and loafers of commuters on trains,

who steam coolly in their seats all the way into Waverley.

 

 

first published in Southlight Magazine, 2017

Advertisements

“Little Grey Cloud” published in The Magnolia Review

little grey cloud

I’m very pleased to have had one of my poems published in  The Magnolia Review. My thanks to editor Suzanna Anderson for choosing the poem, and for putting together such a great collection of art, poetry and prose – the largest issue of TMR to date.

You can read the whole issue here, and will find “Little Grey Cloud” hogging the horizon about a fifth of the way in.

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

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

Leningrad, 1990

Leningrad


Leningrad, 1990

 
Even with only seven mutually-intelligible phrases,

we partied on the overnight express north like it was

everybody’s birthday, making a loaf out of crumbs.

Come morning, the train lurched in, to a metropolis with

two heads, neither of them facing in the right direction.

 

Then it rained three days, in bands of withering judgment,

from a sky heavy with itself and a marathon of history.

Ageing boulevards, redundant with missing teeth, became

tributaries. Palaces gleamed, and naked-headed citizens

in zip-up jackets, streamed along Nevsky Prospect wearing

 

identical tennis shoes, unaware that another revolution

was rearing like a rodeo bull, in a future already

out of touch with the present. They would soon be

renaming the city again. Back at our hotel, the lights

flickered. They warned us against drinking the water.

 

 

first published in Clear Poetry, 2017

Cymbalaria mularis

Cymbalaria mularis

Cymbalaria mularis

at Durham Cathedral

 

They built their God a house

to shoulder the heavens,

demanding all of the sky above

the broad loopings of the river,

where it slowly pinched its banks

into a single, swollen drop.

 

Above the waterline, where its

sprawling founds tread the stout,

bread-coloured rock, jewelled

chains of toadflax rope themselves

into ancient niches worked by

the insistent, scouring rains of

 

ten centuries; like hermits

riding out a life of storms from

a lonely Atlantic cell, their

ivy-leaves shrug off the beat

of each droplet, dipping their

solemn heads in prayer.

 

first published in Bindweed Magazine, 2016

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

 

Transhumance

Transhumance

Transhumance

 

We have now all shed our summer plumes,

swapping them for winter browns, greys, black,

 

it being the time. The signals have been received.

Recoiling from the mundane assault of rain,

 

we brandish gaunt faces folded in against the

incessant push of weather towards them.

 

Our inner compulsions are beyond the elemental;

they send us out in our reluctant packs on these

 

mindless journeys, bunched like caribou, or penguins,

in ticketing machine queues, on station platforms,

 

praying to our watches, clawing in the dark miles,

navigating by a rhythm hardwired into our hearts.

 

first published in Avis, Issue 2, 2016