Fourteen Weeks – A Poem By Carol J Forrester

The size of a lemon,
which reminds me of a fruit tree,
leaves buttered up and green
as the unripe citruses berried in-between…
and this is much the same,
this slow uncurling as you ripen
my own belly thickening till I peel
off my layers,
test the softness around my middle,
squeeze the fruit flesh.
You feel all this apparently,
spin like a top, end over end
become a flicker in a whirlwind.
Still hidden by your smallness,
little lemon pip blooming.

I’ve missed quite a few DVersePoets night over the past couple of months, and that’s mainly been because I’ve spent all my free time napping. The little Gremlin above is due this summer, and I’ve had all the fun of pregnancy sickness to content with, so my writing took a bit of a hit. My husband and I are very excited to welcome our little human into the world, and I thought what better way to tell my poet friends the news, than with a poem for the Open Link Night!

The Year After Last – A Poem By Carol J Forrester #DVersePoets

Squirming at the pumpkin guts, your hands scooped into ladles, spooning palmfuls of seed and sludge. We took desert spoons to the wisp remains. Raked the slick walls smooth. Marked out the features with sharpies, a wide outline mouth, hollow eyes, skeleton nose. Sawed kitchen knives through thick sick, fingers squeaking tight on the handles.

This year, that kitchen is someone else’s, and the plants have not spat out anything other than flowers, their yellow blooms autumn mulched into the borders. There is no spilling through the doorway, hat and coats rain kissed into my open arms. No mud footprints on the tiles. Only seeds, sat on the shelf, kept dark and safe, for more hospitable times. My own roots deepening, on the promises pushed away till Spring.

Evening has a weight,
a sense of things settling down,
comfort in closing.

Rain Will Not Be Left Out In The Cold

She brings it in with her,

the rain,

clung to the tip of her nose

and through her hair

so it’s blacker than night.


Strips out of her waterproofs

till she has shape.


risen high in her cheeks,

on the knuckles of her hands.


Reveals the desperation of it,

crept through

zips and openings.

Slid a caress down her neck

till she bears a collar of its touch.


Trails it deeper into the kitchen,

Siren kettle

a song to sodden socked feet,

printing a vanishing trail

across the tiles.


One Size Fits All In Broken Tartan

For a while I wondered if my grandmother was magic. You see she would talk about the night she spent near Culloden. How my grandfather slept on sound, and she was tossed through dreams of screaming men. The English and their guns, against the all those clansmen, come to die. For a while I believe she’d walked the battle in her dreams.

The tartans, like welsh (for a while) were outlawed to break that spirit. Make them less like them, and more like us. Then they only rise against themselves. The English are very good at making adversaries of themselves.

When a friend shows me her family tartan, there was a plucking sort of feeling. An ache for a history only half understood, and twice removed. I could find it, put it on, but somehow I doubt I would fit. Not enough of the right stuff in me, to tie me into the pattern. Made me wonder how much of myself I can claim.

The loch waters rose

and I saw my own face there

to deep to be reached.


The Butcher’s Poleaxe – #VEDay

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 great-grandfather, a butcher with eyesight so poor he was unable to enlist, would drive to farms in the middle of night to do the deed. Headlights were not allowed due to blackout regulations, and knowing those narrow country lanes, I’m amazed he managed to avoid ending up in the ditches.

My Great-Grandmother, who I knew very well, would remain at home. The danger was not only getting caught, but from returning German bombers on their way home. Any bombs that were not dropped on the high-value targets were dumped out over the country-side. I remember being told stories by the Great-Grandmother, of how she spent night in the cupboard beneath the stairs, listening as the bombs dropped nearby.

After the war ended and rationing was lifted, there was no more need for the poleaxe, and no-one really knows what happened to it. I like to think that it is still in existence, perhaps on display, or perhaps tucked in the back of a cupboard.