Coming Back

dav

 

Coming Back

 

Shapeless patches of light

shimmy up the hillside,

countermanding each separate shadow

for a second, washing the unlit,

warming the cold spirit,

like a note pattern in

the leafless trees below.

 

You’re coming back again,

or so I heard. A strike of the eye,

irregularity of the heart.

I picture you. The limpness

of the afternoon impels me,

makes me wonder which wind

is bearing you this time.

 

 

first published in Sleet Magazine, 2018

Caprice

sdr

 

Caprice

 

You make your mind up

like the rain.

Covert bands of threat, promise

and maybe-nots

line themselves along the catwalk

of the horizon.

Only some will make it, cross

the full longitude

of the ocean, grey smothering blue.

I await both

the storm and the steady drill

of business,

neither cat nor dog, proffering

a curious hand.

 

first published in Sleet Magazine, 2018

 

“Atoms” published at Atrium Poetry

Atoms

I’ve been following Atrium Poetry on WordPress since it first launched, more or less. So I’m particularly pleased that my poem “Atoms” is currently appearing on the site. You can check it out here, and if you don’t already follow Atrium, I’d reckon there can’t be many poetry webzines out there more worthy of your attention.

A big thank you from me to editors Holly Magill and Claire Walker for giving one of my poems such a fine home.

Missing the point

Missing The Point

 

Missing the point

 

Cooing through the ether in your nursery-rhyme voice,

you describe the view from the upstairs window of

your new apartment; tell them how on certain days

when the pollution levels allow, you can make out

– across the water – strange, impossible mountains

smeared with snow, so distant-looking to you that the

slow parabola of the Earth ought to prevent it somehow.

 

But not every day. What it means is that, as usual, you

won’t be noticing what’s at your feet, tripping you up.

That the knives and forks of sea air are guzzling on

the fatted steel of your car, turning it to useless pumice.

Your front door will need painting. You haven’t managed

to ignore away the flat, crushing ache in your lower back.

And you miss them. And they wish you would come home.

 

 

first published in Verdad Magazine, 2017

Saltmarsh thoughts

IMG_1487It’s been a week or so since I journeyed up to the Solway coast to take part in a creative writing day organised by Cumbria Wildlife Trust at RSPB Campfield Marsh. As you might be able to tell from these images (easier with the colour one, admittedly), it was a glorious late-spring/early-summer day of high pressure weather, sunshine and stillness. A real blessing. With the tide wholly out, exposing the saltmarsh and mudflats to their fullest extent, the sense of openness and space was remarkable, and the beginnings of the Galloway hills across the border loomed almost reachable on the horizon.

Writer and blogger Ann Lingard, who was running the event, encouraged us to spend plenty of time out in the estuary amongst the mud and the marsh, exploring, observing and making notes, before gathering us again to compare findings and take part in a couple of writing exercises. She also took the time to share her extensive knowledge of both the microfauna that calls the place home, and the history of the immediate area. I doubt I could identify again (or even find) any of the critters we were introduced to, but at least I have no excuses anymore.

I’ve found myself regularly revisiting and reprocessing the experience in my head ever since. It would be untrue to say that I’ve used the notes I made to create anything of substance – poetry, fiction, whatever. It’s still just a jumble of notes. Had I expected it to be otherwise? I can’t honestly say. But I do know that something far more valuable has occurred to me in the meantime.

IMG_1504

I’m fascinated by the creative process – by what it is about us that makes us creative and makes us create (or else allows us to think we aren’t and stop ourselves). And how the germination of ideas takes place. What I’ve realised is how rarely I grant myself the gift of spending time simply looking at things, at what’s really there. Not only looking, but also using every other sense in a deliberate, conscious way. It’s an incredibly precious gift, but for me, it has to come without any hint of agenda. There must be no pressure, no compulsion to write about the observations – the sensations – as a result.

I either write or think about writing every single day (the latter occurs much more often!), but I almost never see or experience something and then sit down to try and write coherently about it straight away. Instead, whatever seeds have been sown usually have to sit there and fester first – for years, even – before a thing I might think of as ‘poetry’ happens.

But I have to gather those seeds, raw materials. I’ve never known precisely where poems and their ideas originate (I have a clue…) but I know that in order for the whole process to keep rolling, I need to continue to be as open and receptive to the world as I can. So I’ve made a promise that I’m going to give myself the gift of taking a look around much more often.

 

 

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