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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Drawing trees

Drawing Trees


Drawing trees

 

I thought I was doing them properly, the way

you’re supposed to, crayoning out raw shapes

that were, if not quite exactly lollipops, then

certainly something lickable, perhaps clouds

of candy floss wound onto sticks, or ice cream.

I filled them in with a pistachio green to avoid

any ambiguity, ticking in a circle of birds above,

a butterfly the size of a moose. A sun, smiling.

 

Those, she told me would lose their leaves

in the autumn, spend fingerbone winters naked

and heartless. She didn’t say why. I didn’t ask.

Hers were drilled brigades of triangles, isosceles,

getting smaller towards the top of the page

to suggest distance, within which you could

see each and every Starbucks needle, every

chocolate-coloured cone a dangling reproach.

 

first published in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine Anthology, 2017

Featured Poet in Northampton Poetry Review, Issue 2

NPR2It’s a real honour to be part of the second issue of the Northampton Poetry Review, and in particular to have been chosen as Featured Poet for this issue.

I’m very grateful to editors Tom and Philippa Harding for finding space to include five of my poems – Winter Fire, October, Sunshine, Holly and Putting back the clocks.

This issue is a fine collection of work from a very talented group of writers, and I’m sure  NPR will become a well-established and admired publication over the next few years.

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

 

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