Saturday, November 10, 2012

Autumn 2012

Published in The Interpreter's House 51, October 2012

I love The Interpreter's House because it's a treasure trove of mostly shortish poems, mostly just one per author, and also because they always seem to choose the poem from my submissions that I thought least likely to be accepted!

To keep it safe

I could slab up blocks of clay
to sculpt the memory of this bay. 
I’d leave roughcast edges 
jagged against screens of scenery blue.
Lower down, I’d whittle away
a curl of lip, sphincter, vulva,
blow-hole and cave-mouth
for molten glass
precious as marbles, to fill.
Winkle out slithery things:
a scuttle of crabs, a starfish,
a twitching slippage of squid.
Further out in indigo blue,
shoals, oh shoals and shoals
of nib-sized fish would be writing
epic novels of the deep dimension,
illuminating pages with ghosts 
of living oceans past.

Rhyme and Reason Writers have published a beautiful desk diary of poetry and prose on the subject of Seasons, in aid of Ian Rennie Grove House Hospice They have been raising funds in this way for 22 years, which is phenomenal! It's a lovely book to dip into through the year, and would make a lovely present at the modest price of £5! Poet Gerard Benson judged the poems, and this one of mine was chosen.

Four Seasons: Notes

Winter evenings sweat wet woodsmoke
and a bitter tar drips from the zomba’s chimney.
Ravens crunch the air like split kindling.
By midnight, sharp moonlight
carries salt on its tongue, stings 
with new snow from the mountains.
I hear Death and the Maiden.

Spring sweeps in with a hiss 
of swifts, unzips its hoard of golds:
sunspurge, crown daisies, Jerusalem sage,
in a Hallelujah chorus. And I’m listening
for jasmine, but what I get is orange blossom:
notes flagrant as the cadences of a kora
or that aria from Tosca.

Summer is brittle, splits pods, spits pellets
to a raucous chorus of cicadas.
A sexy armpit stink slithers
through open car windows, from the sticky 
weed that stays green when the rest is straw.
Mastic oozes. Scents are deep as carob honey, 
dark as Desert Blues.

Autumn’s first drops on hot earth release
pheromones of hope, stir sea onions 
to send out spires of light. But too early
and they spoil the grapes with mildew,
sour the wine. Half-dried sultanas rot.
Fermenting figs drop on the road, stick
in the ribs of our soles. Thunder,
distant drum rolls.

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