In the market they are talking about last week’s linens, still strung across the garden beneath skies dazzling blue. The butcher’s wife does not like the cats with their black cloaks, stalking the briar patch at night, bright eyes like guttering candles. Her husbands claims superstition, but distrusts the foxglove purple swords, the nightshade, the mistletoe, the cut stems by the hedgerow. Forgets who birthed their last child, almost blue and so brokenly quiet. Breathed that first cry into him when they though him too far gone. But there’s the girl and her tears, and her husband raging for some sort of explanation as to why the seed won’t take. And why this year’s harvest failed, and the Harlow’s pig got sick, and the men from the church came and hung a witch out. I’m going to admit, this poem got away from me somewhat, and I’m really not sure how I feel about the ending. Still, I hope you like where I took tonight dVerse prompt. I only …
Somewhere there is a poleaxe, your sweat worked into the staff from unbroken nights, where the pig must not squeal. Milk bottle spectacles but no flame or light catching in the glass reflection. All of it done in the silence that cannot be broken, unlike the rules you’re cleaving with each precise blow. Hands returned to steering wheel, on dark lanes winding home, nose to windscreen foot light on the accelerator, you mouth curled in prayer. May they not come back this way with the fat bulbs unsown on London, or Crewe, or elsewhere deemed vital. May they not discard their leftovers on these field tonight. Let the silence be unbroken. VE Day 2020 Not long ago my mother told me about the poleaxe my great-grandfather kept in the garage. He used it during the Second World War to slaughter pigs, as it was more effective at killing them quickly before there was chance for them to make any sound. This was during rationing, when there were limitations on the slaughter of livestock. My …
I want to sink bells into the pond. Plant them just below the waterline, where the ripples look like scales lifting out of the shallows slowly on the back of an endless snake. Then at night when the moon lifts, turns her face to watch, I’ll slip out onto the decking, strip down to my silver skin. Drop like a stone or a witch into the quiet cold of a place not quite what I wish of it. Wonder as the bells ring out if anyone else may be listening. There’s a lot of Shropshire Folklore about women and water. The River Severn is often characterised as female, and there are tales of women (or women-like creatures) inhabiting lakes and ponds. Another image in Shropshire folk tales, is that of church bells falling into water and being lost forever, but the sound of their ringing being heard at night. I’ve always been in love with myths and legends, but more often than not it was the classic Greek, Egyptian, and Norse myths that I turned …
Syrup thick the evening slides in, through an open window, past clinking blinds left low. Settled in the heat of floorboards, today edges towards tonight uncertain of any other name. Could be Sunday for all its softness, its lifted underbelly showing to a glow on the horizon. Even the birds seem distant, their swooping songs drifting deeper into the quietness. In other poetry news, guess who finally had time to work out kindle publishing! ‘It’s All In The Blood’ can now be purchased on kindle through the amazon store. Feeling more than a little smug with myself I must say.
Bark bitten calves hooked in place, perfect ‘v’ ankle to hip. Silly stretch of bare belly concave as you swing. Cheeks round with storm winds. Filled sails of a fallen shirt. Billowed until breathless and grinning stained knees knocked loose there’s still another turn.
It’s best to count inwards from the outer rings, all these layers of bark around my bite too often gone unseen by those deserving of my sharp teeth or even sharper words. Evening is the best time for taking stock. When sunlight settles softly across my back and you have to really look to find the lost marbles rattling loose in drawers. I can reorder the library as much as I like. It will be out of place soon enough. Each new volume stacked into shelves I will never truly fill.
There are no apples left for picking, only leaves caught up in the sunlight and a slow breeze passing through. Back between my molars sticks a pip that my tongue cannot pry loose no matter the shapes it twists, the times it risks my bite. A sparrow in the branches sings, tells me there are more trees, more apples, but they are behind walls, and gates, and men with bright black guns. They tell people which trees are good, which ones are bad. It doesn’t matter about the apples so much, it’s more about the hands.
They hire him to take up gravestones in old cemetery grounds. Pay him by the hour, to tease out lichen lost names, note them, in neat, thin rows of records only his eyes will read, and murmur each syllable into the fresh split of dark soil before the groundsman comes with his sack of grass seed, already whistling to no one at all.
The fridge stinks again, the thing lolling at the back, sweating, sickly sweet, cling film wrapped and taunting as if to say ‘this is just your desert for peeling me down till we both cried shameless, and you held a knife like a question.’
Cut me off at the ankles or so you said, stood astride my stump, saw grinned. ‘Not so pretty now are we’ either of us. Spent the winter finding my roots, you brought on your hot house girls throwing out the deadheads before they even had chance to wilt. Spring freshened up all that toughening from too many years the same. Found new shoots moving upwards, more bend, less bark to my bite. Summer and I redecorated it all, cloaked myself in colour, announced my presence, my survival. Dared you to try cutting me down again.