“After last night’s storm the tulip petals are strewn across the patio where they mortally fluttered.”- Church, Jim Harrison
I keep all my fallen petals
the bruised blooms most would discard
as too damaged for the vase
in the centre of the dining table
where the best silver is used.
No one calls a chrysanthemum whore
for the bee at its core
or whistles when lilac tumbles
between sheets of sedge and foxglove.
They are simply flowers.
Imagine being no less worthy
for want of expectations,
your only driving need
to turn your face towards the sun.
Fingertips perched as light as sparrow feet
on the branches of your shoulders,
snow could settle in your stillness
if it weren’t so cold.
Instead clouds build beneath us
a bed of air and ice
that a single shiver
would be enough to break.
2022 marks ten years since I first read my own poetry in front of a live audience. I was lucky enough to be invited to respond to the displays at the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery in Shropshire. My poem ‘The Boats’ was perhaps one of the shortest pieces on the launch night, and I was also horribly late due to a misread signpost, but it was a fantastic experience and one that pushed me towards open mics. I will not sure share the bio that I wrote for the Shrewsbury Museum, as quite honestly, I reread it and cringed. I was far more confident as an eighteen-year-old than I am at twenty-eight, which raises the question of what else may have changed about me and my poetry since then. What have I managed to learn over ten years of writing, performing, and publishing? More importantly, would it make a good series for my blog? Somewhat wonderfully, I have poetry on display in a museum again this year, this time in Nantwich, Cheshire. It seems like a very good point to pause, and take stock.
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I find enough dregs in this coffee cup
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to stay past closing,
beyond the last click of the latch catching
and the solid drone of the dishwasher ending
the soft clink, clink, clink of glasses settling
back into their neat, tidy shelves.
We listen to the distant dissonant clamour
of other lingering loiterers,
drifting through honeyed darkness,
a slow breath seeping
out, out, out,
like a last.
My own chest filled with gurgle, and cackle,
a sunken, sodden conversation
I dread to dredge up.
Embellish the quiet with a sudden, empty sigh
your own tense shoulders easing
when I finally chose the word goodnight.
There are days I go to caves
to sit in quiet with myself,
revel in my granite flesh
a polished mirror of rock
mourning the last of my softness
long gone and sea swept.