Margins

I write in the margins
because I used to live there
an oddity, an anomaly, a correction
wasting valuable space on the page 
until the margins became
too tight to breathe in
too tight to survive in
so I leaked into the rest of the page
sharing my words with others
finding friendship and love.

I write in the margins
because the margins made me.

———

Thanks for taking time to read my poem. I hope you enjoyed. Why not take time to read some of my other pieces?

Take It Easy

Paul

The Last Days Of Summer

Soft-boiled sky

spread thin on the horizon

the sun’s rising later each day

maroon leaves and falling horse chestnuts

betray the arrival of

an early August autumn

we were too cloud-drenched to notice

too caught up in our own microclimates to care

but I welcome the new season

and the spectrum of flickering flames and hot embers

because I’ve always loved

dancing in the fire.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem, originally wrote as part of #TopTweetTuesday on twitter, this is a farewell to Summer and a warm welcome to Autumn. Please feel free to leave a comment if you liked it or have any constructive critique.

Take It Easy,

Paul

Thunderstruck

One evening in the Scottish Borders
during a break away with youth club
when the air was glue-thick and soup-warm
and the sky bruised purple-black

we sat telling ghost stories
– not scary in the slightest –
while the youth workers and chaperones
drank cheap lambrusco from mugs
until we witnessed the awesome temper of the sky
as death-white splinters thrashed from cloud to meadow
cracks booming louder than screams of tweens and young teens
most of the lads and lasses ran for shelter in the bunkhouse
sharing safety in numbers
and the comfort of cuddles from terrified friends.

I stayed out until the last of us were told to go in
– once the adults had took the last long draws of their roll-ups and regal king-size
so i went and watched by the window
mesmerised in the maelstrom of pines and ferns
getting whipped in the nearby wood.

It took me a while to hear a young lass
screaming and shrilling
‘we’re all gonna die’ repeatedly
between sobs and falling tears
as heavy as the rain outside
I felt bad for enjoying myself
while she was terrified.

One of the older lads said we’d all look after her
and that – or the storebrand ovaltine the youth leader made –
seemed to calm her to sleep
and, as the thunder rolled back
the bruised horizon gave way
to star-flecked inky skies and a pure pearl moon
she slumbered soundly
while we told tales of nature
some more scary than others.

Thanks for taking the time to read Thunderstruck’. I hope you enjoyed it. While you’re here, feel free to check out some of my other work.

Take It Easy,

Paul

(photo courtesy of canva)

Answering Doors

Opportunity rasped
repeatedly at my door
knuckles bloodied, bruised and broken
until they were incapable
of knocking again
I chose to open up
once silence fell
with head bowed
I took it’s palms in mine
and healed sores with words
Why didn’t you answer ?‘ Opportunity asked
and in my mind
the truth was told
– ‘there are far more deserving than I‘.

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem. I hope you enjoyed it. If opportunity knocks, always answer because it may take you to places you could only dream about.

Take It Easy

Paul

Great Grandad Grandstand

I remember the things I learned
watching Grandstand on Saturday afternoons
at my Great Grandad’s house
like the rules of snooker, darts
and horse racing
how to pick a winning horse out the newspaper (look at the jockey)
sound like Woody the Woodpecker
how to use a mangle to dry out clothes
still steaming from the old washing machine
I found that snuff tobacco was minty
and cured a sniffle
that I preferred my squash diluted
and scotch eggs and ‘black bullets
are the food of kings
The most important thing
he taught me and many others
           – was kindness.

Although Grandstand Saturdays came to an end
I still keep what I learnt
sacred in my mind and heart
except the food
I eat that.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. A little letter to my Great Grandad who used to have me round when I was a kid.

Take It Easy

Paul

No Sense Of Summer


The string is delicately coarse
between my fingers and palm
when I pull
the blinds need a heavy touch
to open this morning

I’m expecting hues of
poached peach & rhubarb
to welcome me to Monday
but the sky is chalk-grey and despondent 

My ears crave the tranquility
of a blackbird & sparrow choir
when all I can hear
is the drowning of the day
the rain pelting the paving slabs

And I can’t smell the jasmine
that normally waltzes its way
from the raised bed in the garden
beyond my bedroom window –
but the scent of damp mown-grass
is refreshing

It’s bittersweet
that mid-July’s sun won’t be seen today
because on the bright side
I’ll savour this rainy day
with you.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. I hope you enjoyed it and at least some of it resonated with you. While you’re here, why not check some of my other work?

Take it easy,

Paul

Morning Fishing Trips

A September Saturday in 1995
the four a.m. sea air is salt-sour
silicate sand shimmers
under the after-midnight-blue canopy
the waning moon a spotlight
on discarded worm skins

I dig since I’m the youngest –
because even morning fishing trips have hierarchies –
success arrives after ten minutes
of shovel and scoop
we loot the fresh bait
they can wriggle all they want
we own them now

we march in early morning muteness
preserving our energy
until we can cast off
and pour ourselves a flask-coffee
topped with a nip of whisky

destination reached we pick our spots
wisely or not
our rods are set
with hands stained with dying worm-dye

waiting for the first ripple
or bend of pole
the craic is quiet
about the things men like to talk about
as dawn passes over us

an hour passes by
then three of five rods
begin to quiver
the ancient part of our hunter-brains
spike our natural instincts

we let our rods sway
luring in the line tenderly
then reel rapidly
drawing in a decent-sized pollock
the crack of the baton
gives me the first of a few fish
caught before the nearby B&B’s
serve their breakfasts.

After some further success
we head back to the van
our shoal are all fair sizes
my pollock glimmering longest in the bucket
but hierarchies exist
and I may get landed with a small plaice
but where there are hierarchies
there are rites of passage
and it’s the first fish i’ve caught
so I get to keep it

I also get to gut all the catch
my fumbling numb fingers
dyed crimson by dead fish
find their rhythm
and I’m proud to be
on the first
rung of the hunter’s hierarchy.

I used to go fishing in Northumberland regularly, this poem is about when i first started out, I was 12. One of our neighbours took me with his friends, it was always a great experience.

I hope you like it.

Take it easy

Paul

What Is A Fire Without Flame?

a dispassionate mound
of glaucous ash
the warmth lost
ready to die out
at any moment

or rather

a scattering of embers
the reminder of warmth
we shared
when flames flickered in frivolity
kissing and caressing
kindling and coal
when white,gold and ochre
danced
as strong as they could 
for as long as they could
to the gentle chaotic rhythm of crackling
shades of silver in the hearth
silently whispering
Live Life Like The Fire.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this poem and are having a great day.

Take it Easy

Paul

Image courtesy of Canva.

Dedication

I felt it was an insult that
each new street
was named after
a different species of tree
they chopped down
a lasting dedication to
rapid decimation
of the ancient woodland and hedgerow
their deaths were dealt so swiftly
that the hawthorn berries
didn’t even get time to bleed.

Now when I walk past
Oak Avenue, Ash Drive & Beech Terrace
each brimming with life
I think of the bricks, mortar and glass
I believe the woodland remains
just in a different guise
and the dedication isn’t an insult
but a celebration of what came before
that the trees that once thrived there
are a solid foundation for new roots to form.

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, feel free to leave a comment if you wish.