Archives for the month of: November, 2012

THIS IS A BENCH.

THAT IS A TREE.

THERE IS £592.16p

in the bank

 

the statement says.

It will pay rent,

perhaps

 

THIS IS A BENCH.

THAT IS A TREE.

I think there is £271.97p

left in the account

 

today

the blossoms are shaking

off their white petals.

Songbirds are returning.

 

There is still a chill

in the air.

 

HERE IS A BENCH.

HERE IS A TREE.

Waterlow’s lake sings to the city skyline

far away    The Gherkin

This poem appears in the September 2012 issue of Party in Your Eye-Socket, an independently published, illustrated anthology. Visit them at http://partyinyoureyesocket.tumblr.com/

“Shining in Brightness,” my forthcoming volume, includes this poem and others from a mystical decade (i.e. twelve years) of writing.

            Stronger than plastic ponies

            They are white

            on Kleinmond’s dunes

 

            Not small or pink in plastic

            Not in your pocket

            Oh no! Sirree

Wild horses

            fling their thoughts

            to windy mountain passes

You’ll never see

            or catch them, no

 

Alone they go

            Wild horses in their group

During my undergraduate years, one of my favourite times of year was when the green-leafed creepers, which cascaded down the old JM Solomon buildings, turned to red. The campus would be adorned in a colour beyond ordinary and the logic that leaves are green no longer stood. This is the fourth Northern autumn that I am living through. It is probably because I spend so much time walking pavements and paths that this time of year is the most interesting for my (sub)urban wanderer. She has so much to take in: trails and piles of fallen orange leaves, the seeds and cones that fall from the trees and then there’s the darkening.

It’s only a quarter past four and that mysterious Northern afternoon darkness beyond dusk has descended outside, accompanied by a Mozart’s Eb horn concerto. It’s mysterious to those of us who grew up with winters that darkened only at an evening hour of say 6pm.  On earlier holidays to snowy Austria, the long nights became part of the novelty of a European holiday. Now it has become part of my lived routine.

This Northern light does not filter through a gentle dusk; it seeps from the day’s overcast sky to reveal grey that grows ever darker. Then I, like many others, will have to go out into this darkness and continue as if it is not so. In late autumn, the early part of the Northern winter, I pep talk myself into believing living two thirds of your day in darkness is not so bad. It is only November.  I have to sit out another three months until the end of February. Then new green will point its shoots from the branches.

 

Dead star

 

Lost is that light year

when my star

glowed, swelled, exploded: –

 

Now walking across the metal bridge

morning’s grapefruit rays

Break the breathing night

To touch yellow leaves,

Rustle skirts on trees.

Brown beacons nose their seeds skyward

before the snow.

 

Lost is the night

That held my star

brightly for you.

 

2006, Opole, Poland

– o –

In autumn, brown beacons nose their seeds skyward

During my time in Poland I used to walk over an old metal bridge from the town part of Opole to the industrial area. It was there, at the large baby-food factory, that I taught English to lab technicians and administrators. In biting morning cold I would set off from my flat, 6.15am for the 7am lesson. The only consolation was those memorable sunrises. Someone for whom I had pined for some years began to fade from importance, like the nights to those grey and delicately painted early winter sunrises. My favourite line captures this metaphorical seasonal change in a real image that struck me. A tree caught my eye as I crossed this metal bridge, where all too often I skidded on the black ice. On this bare tree, “[b]rown beacons nose[d] their seeds skyward.”

A fellow EFL teacher who still lives in Opole, writes that the bridge has been replaced, “by a very fancy suspension-cable thingy.” Sunrises bring all manner of changes.

– o –

“Dead star,” is one of the poems that will feature in my forthcoming first volume, Shining in Brightness.