For Ron & Louise and Owen & Katherine
Darkness delivers me
to the belly of the beacons;
a caffled bundle
of newness and nerves
kinked and crunched
between gravel and sole.
Slowly, bathed in the balm
of pine and candles,
skeins untangle, tensions unfurl,
as I sit, silk-washed in words
that tumble over me
like warm, Welsh rain.
Dawn unties the ribbons
of a new day,
presents me with the gift
of light and mountains
and the lilting mellow verse
of friendships forged
over fire and wine.
We arrived in our thousands,
laden; waterproofed and prepared
for the squelching, umber trudge.
We stalked, staked claim to the land
and built our temporary shelters;
effective but impossible to find
in the torch-lit, twilight damp. Loosened
by like-minded company, eventide found us
beneath the endless Suffolk skyscape,
throwing shapes as though invisible;
a cagoule-cassocked choir offering
hedonistic hymns in exchange
for a brief respite from the rain.
As we left, small pieces of us clung
to the bosky oasis; twirling bootprints
in the clotted clay, descant notes
perched as dew on forest leaves
and sighs that skittered
on the illuminated lake. Yet,
as the light slipped towards
the end of the earth, I realised
that each of us was leaving
with so much more than we
had packed in our rucksacks.
Isaac Israels (1865-1934) ~ Seamstresses at Atelier Paquin, Paris
~ for all the amazing women in my life, you know who you are
core spun thread
through filigree fingers
silver grey pellicule
salved and selvedged
far from the fray
beneath seamstresses’ gaze
there will be no unraveling
I glimpse you in transposition,
fish-hooking me in the bar-room glass;
parentheses frame a lop-sided grin,
picture-light lit by flickering grey-greens.
razor burn me with your beauty;
swift, dark-lashed flash of recognition.
Sweeping familiarity to the fringes,
we weave curios through soft fingers
scooping up the nascent swell
of a longed-for new beginning.
For M and for friendship
You broad-shoulder me to the beach,
pillow-creased and yawning,
our winter-beaten faces
upturned to the burn.
Lungs gather up the onshore Sou’westerly;
its briny tang caffling in our hair
as we skim ‘ducker’ stones
and watch the storm petrels scatter.
Noon finds us knee-deep
in the mud-silt sand,
elbow to elbow, giggling,
digging for clams.
Blistering afternoon slips slowly
down the cool throat of the sky
and as we trickle our way home
something resembling peace
~This piece is dedicated to you, for if you’re reading it you’re part of the tribe.
late night study time,
creep to bed,
Scooped up by the online tribe, electronic vibe coursing the veins, mainlining trains; thoughts full throttle from the full frontal lobe, traversing the globe. Busy stations, new locations, shared vocations, eloquence, elation. Enveloped by talent, consumed, exhumed, lifted by the gifted and allowed to bloom. Sisters, brothers, birthed in verse, kindred lovers blessed with the curse. Pilgrims prepared to take truth to the brink, bound not by blood but by ink.