#poem #poetry #amwriting #beehive #bradford beehivepoets digest compilation

Don't mind me...

 I'm just putting some poems together for my trip to the Beehive tonight....


friend's friend

whenever we met
she told me how I disliked her
and in what measure
   and the reasons
and I laughed

her room was draped with peacock scarves
   of purple print and pink bohemian hue
      burnt candle and saffron and wine

even in the stink of summer
   when children in buggies were gassed by buses
      the air striking in the surrey hills
her room had coolness

our disagreement lay
- or so I am told -
in an off-hand remark while drunk
for which no apology was asked
and full insult taken

she never drank tea - only earl grey or lapsang -
but I drank it with milk and no lemon

during one lecture about the perils of meat
I pointed out I was a vegetarian

she knew me better than myself
told me my opinions
defined my tastes and whims
laughed at my clothes
and my carefree contempt

and then one day we air-kissed
      without goodbye



he said he was waiting for death
   eyes watchful over the sea
and on his knee - neatly wrapped -
   a triangle wax-papered parcel
      tied with string

winching at the badly kept beer
   my eye is caught by a picture
      of the house now hanging -
      captured then - with a paddock
         between it and the cliff

on the wall - more pictures -
nostalgic for a time - when people lived here
   when the pub had trade in winter
   and the school was more vibrant
      than the tennis club

after lunch I take some time
to walk back to that bench again
- he's still there waiting - waiting -
for the slow erosion to take him
   like the open slab of house exposed



in the gap between the tarmac
a pink opium poppy
                 - tattered - blooms

and she walks with splayed feet
- in pastel clothes - half dyed -
washed up from the toes
past the turned in knees
to the polka-dot double pram'd shoulders
- gurgling lullabies in plodding tune

they say she had to choose a number
                     - one two three -
and whichever she picked
                        would not flower



now is the fallow seeding time
   of grasses bending
children with counted ribs
   dash random as swifts
   their fun frantic as butterfly wings
foxglove proud they stand
   laughter punctuates
   like the yellow primrose
      rising through the tawning grass



the wild cotton dots the brush
as if a flock of sheep was chased
by giant bouldered feet in hunger
which rose in wanton violence
beneath the flash of thunder

and what sheep remain are thin in the haunch
they graze with waggled ear
lazy roll a bulge'd eye
at the backpacked tramp of feet
on rain softened tussocky grass

as I crest them out of view
I hear the conversation
the wind and stillness have lulled
so the words come in startled fresh
like a joke to the humourless

they are discussing sandwiches
and more precisely mayonnaise
and more succinctly tuna in brine or oil
and if the combination
suits white or brown

and in the midst of discussion
a light sun clearing breeze
lifts cellophane from a knee
carries it flapping and folding
until unsure it drops three feet from the path

they apologise as I hand it back
I smile
and secretly drop the lint
from the triangle of my pocket
as I walk on


francis harvey

this stone
   more dense than diamond
   smooth as a bird's egg
   cold in my palm
      like a forearmed sheet beneath the pillow in summer

this stone
I hold indecisive
between the dismissive toss for the common-place
   and the pocket

that stone whet
   knew that I would hear the call of birds
   and taste the butter
and laugh at the off-hand description
   of apple orchards and vetch
of relatives proud in country manner
   whom strut like thrushes bullying a sparrow
coated in russian bearskin - three-quarter length -
   to accent the sweet perfume
      of a mother's beauty - to a child

    and the glottal stopped
       faux pas of judging others by their vowels
for the words that were not said
and the bridges burned before crossing
   for the sake of failure

knows that thread from which we hung
- the threads of half-drowned hair dragged from a river
  that later would get merry on cider
- or perry - or gin - or love -
or the chancing sunlight on a handsome face
   to form the swan's heart of desire
      more fabled and more real - than us



The Blue Book