Due to limited control of our formatting on posts, the formatting of the following poem is incorrect.
For the hawthorn in May she takes the cinder path
down to the Winning.
This morning is a fine morning.
The ragman’s carts stand idle; piebald horses
graze unharnessed in a narrow wedge of paddock.
Little Burn is giddy, fast flowing over the bones
of September’s slaughter, broken bricks, pebbles,
busy, busy bringing tittle tattle –
storms in the hills,
bringing mad tales to the calm lowland –
is so full of gossip,
like a tarn on the fell
where a sheep bloats and bobs,
like Boann mistook
for a lump of Roman stone
a child’s yellow boat, the latest
lovely drowned thing
sped down steam slick as waking eels
until stones sat up and now is sunk
and now is home for minnows.
Whickering and bird song. A car coughs too ill to travel.
A drunk stirs in a stable, spits, shies shocked by the stab of light
raking through the hay.
Nothing else competes with her humming
her splashing, her chanting –
except perhaps the song of insects amazed at wings.
Ripe wild garlic tans in the sun, and shouts its woodland
whereabouts for everyone’s notice. And the trough by the ford
is bewitched: it brims, it spills, it never empties.
Mid-stream she stands, feet apart, a priestess stance
(she likes to think), hands cupped, palms up –
stands on the brink – water falling over lips
of dun coloured bedrock – hands bloodless as the blossom.
Punch-hole petals drift like frosty breath, gather, niche and socket,
bank and fall. A warm blizzard blanching Little Burn.
She rubs her stomach
certain she’s caught a dose of Spring:
netted the awakening.
This year. Surely? It touched her. Certain.
Hopeful and alone in Little Burn, this charade can be misunderstood.