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.
The house bursting and yet empty.
This is a bareness of harvest or pestilence.
Tilly put the book down when her Aunt asked what she was reading.
She made an excuse and escaped through the kitchen. Hurried along the pockmarked lane.
The keys were cold in her palm, which was odd, seeing as they had been hung by the Aga.
When she climbed the gate she heard him muttering about townies always f’ing over good gates by not climbing over hinge end.
The tractor won’t start at first, takes a little coaxing.
Great Old Lady, done more than her fair share of things and would carry on longer than he would no doubt.
She eased it into gear and checked the harrow out of the back window.
He’d liked things finished, seen through to the end.
Today was as good a day as any.
You with your oak bark hands
planted on the bank
just before the hill drop
to what is now town.
I could see worlds
still turning in your memory,
as if the clock stopped
in a hundred different places.
I even recognise a few
of the people caught here
in this last place of green
before the concrete and brick.
It is a cruelty to take you
from this bank above town.
It is crueller still to take all this
My mother thinks I should try to write some less heavy poems, and I have been trying, but they all seem to twist into the shadows.
She makes babies clothes for the sleeping children.
Started with her own, but just kept going…
That’s why she walks the fence line.
Knuckle bones pressed white against paper skin.
Twisting wool loose.
Gathering the lost.
crash, crunch, thump-
Two days in the field,
a half finished field
where grain heads still bob,
trailers still empty.
Two days of welding,
only for a final diagnostic.
No amount of gutting,
of open heart surgery
is going to fix this.
give me god dam options!
Fuck it all and splash the cash?
How much for a new one,
and by new I mean second hand,
or well maintained third
even fourth if it’s lasted well.
Call in the family.
Twenty acres down before heart failure
but plenty more still to go.
Call in the family
Pray for no rain.
Pray for no break downs.
Pray to finish before September.
Don’t care if you have faith
just get on and pray.