23 February 2018

PRAYER/WALK


A hidden path that starts at a dead end,
Old ways, renewed by walking with a friend,
And crossing places taken hand in hand,

The passages where nothing need be said,
With bruised and scented sweetness underfoot
And unexpected birdsong overhead,

The sleeping life beneath a dark-mouthed burrow,
The rooted secrets rustling in a hedgerow,
The land’s long memory in ridge and furrow,

A track once beaten and now overgrown
With complex textures, every kind of green,
Land- and cloud-scape melting into one,

The rich meandering of streams at play,
A setting out to find oneself astray,
And coming home at dusk a different way.

- Malcom Guite

20 February 2018

POEM, THREE WEEKS AFTER CONCEPTION

For you the stars have already locked into place.
For you the blue coltsfoot in the allotment will be an electrical wonder.
The Red Kite, wolf and bear will return to the borders in numbers.
 You will be buried in a country far away, a country like home, of absolute rainfall.
Beneath a late moon, unfurling.
You shall witness the domination of Jerusalem.
The capsize of London.

- Martinez de las Rivas

17 February 2018

PENITENCE

I was driving into the wind on a northern road, the redwoods swaying around me like a black ocean.

I’d drifted off: I didn’t see the deer till it bounced away, the back legs swinging outwards as I braked and swerved into the tinder of the verge.

Soon as I stopped the headlamps filled with moths and something beyond the trees was tuning in, a hard attention boring through my flesh to stroke the bone.

That shudder took so long to end, I thought the animal had slipped beneath the wheels, and lay there quivering.

I left the engine running; stepped outside; away, at the edge of the light, a body shifted amongst the leaves and I wanted to go, to help, to make it well, but every step I took pushed it away.

Or – no; that’s not the truth, or all the truth:…

- John Burnside

16 February 2018

TO THE MOON

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,  -
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

Thou chosen sister of the Spirit,
That gazes on thee till in thee it pities ...

- Percy Bysshe Shelley

15 February 2018

HOME AT GRASMERE

   The inward frame
Though slowly opening, opens every day
With process not unlike to that which cheers
A pensive Stranger, journeying at his leisure
Through some Helvetian dell, when low-hung mists
Break up, and are beginning to recede;
How pleased he is where thin and thinner grows
The veil, or where it parts at once, to spy
The dark pines thrusting forth their spiky heads;
To watch the spreading lawns with cattle grazed,
Then to be greeted by the scattered huts,
As they shine out; and see the streams whose murmur
Had soothed his ear while they were hidden:  how pleased
To have about him, which way e'er he goes,
Something on every side concealed from view,
In every quarter something visible,
Half-seen or wholly, lost and found again,
Alternate progress and impediment,
And yet a growing prospect in the main.

- William Wordsworth

13 February 2018

BERWICK-ON-TWEED


                                           - Brian J Rance

11 February 2018

THE SOHO HOSPITAL FOR WOMEN

I am out in the supermarket choosing –
this very afternoon, this day –
picking up tomatoes, cheese, bread,

things I want and shall be using
to make myself a meal, while they
eat their stodgy suppers in bed:

Janet with her big freckled breasts,
her prim Scots voice, her one friend,
and never in hospital before,

who came in to have a few tests
and now can’t see where they’ll end;
and Coral by the bed by the door

who whimpered and gasped behind a screen
with nurses to and fro all night
and far too much of the day;

pallid, bewildered, nineteen.
And Mary, who will be all right
but gradually. And Alice, who may.

Whereas I stand almost intact,
giddy with freedom, not with pain.
I lift my light basket, observing

how little I needed in fact;
and move to the checkout, to the rain,
to the lights and the long street curving.

- Fleur Adcock