My palms are worn leather handling hammer and chisel the sinew in my forearms is taut carrying marble creates strength my neck stands tired yet agile from always looking upwards but my days of crafting pedestals is over so I’ll wait for my body to reset and return to an even keel the cost of marble is too much once it’s been etched it can’t be returned even though I probably value the material more than the people I’ve placed upon it I’ll craft myself an armchair to rest and read on and watch the pedestals crumble.
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We sat under a steady autumn sky watching the tiny acts of rebellion as young clouds broke away from old grey from white, white from grey and the sun threw firecrackers at the surface of the sea silent, straw-gold crackling amid the calm we stole glances from each other as the tender harbour breeze kisses our cheeks turning us blush-pink the terns and gulls played tag swooping too close to earth that the seagrass stole some feathers and – as nature misbehaved all around us I softly gripped your hand knowing you’d never let me go because I was falling in love with you even more and this falling will go on forever like the marble-blue horizon
– under the steady autumn sky.
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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.
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I stopped watching the news after the third week of decimating death and morbid press briefings it had become statistically gratuitous
instead, I watched the playing fields opposite the front door start to overgrow welcoming back the wild things –
discarded council lawns no longer littered by kids from the secondary school and couples walking their dogs –
I observed the radiant whimsy in a family of deer frivolous in the pre-dawn haze dancing among the tall grass rose-gold fur in soft focus
impressive were the foxes drifting around the wildflower verges almost hidden in the dusky milk-light gorging on the rodents next-doors cat couldn’t catch
I chuckled at lopping chestnut-hares darting among the hedgerow scaring the bullfinches from the rosehips and brambles
until now I never really appreciated the nurturing noises of nature notably the cresting and chirruping birdsong against the percussive branches of council-planted beech trees
ever since opening the door to the nurture of nature
– life feels gratuitous.
Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, written about something positive that happened during the peak of Corona in the UK. I hope you enjoyed. As always,feel free to leave a comment I love reading and replying.
I almost drowned once down near the mill swimming the current of the Coquet three quarters of the way across my legs lost power against the undertow I’m lucky Peck kept his eyes on me as the river reeds wrapped around ankles my head bobbing up and down like a braeburn on bonfire night and the rest of the boys jumped back in like working-class Hasselhoffs and pulled me to the side they were much stronger swimmers than me
a quick rest and pat on the back spitting up some of the river then swigging back some calming Carling the realisation – dawned on me – I had to swim back facing a new fear head on because backstroke was no good I’m lucky I’ve got such great mates we swam back together like geese fly – in formation – reaching the riverbank’s safety and although my swimming didn’t improve that day my character did.
Thanks for taking the time to read my poem, an autobiographical piece of my younger days.
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Quid in the jukebox The Jam, Bowie, Queen, Elvis – Presley – not Costello
grass-green baize torn and twisted in places twenty pence a shot free on Saturday afternoon when it’s a fiver-a-man tournament winner takes all no chalk for the cues though
footy on the telly screens piracy definitely we don’t complain it’s the best pint in town and they do pork scratchings
they’ve got a bloke who does runs to the bookies backs himself to return the betslip in under 10 minutes he gets a drink either way
the old gagdies tell tales of when they worked the shipyards or some down the pits they shake your hands every time theirs brittle – scarred with hard graft and union strikes
sometimes it gets rowdy when the domino crowds in accusations of cheating to win a 2 quid pot it soon settles down like the best pint in town.
Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, inspired by weekends and evenings spent in the social club in my hometown, which are an important part of the North, unfortunately declining in recent years. If you get the chance, pay one a visit, and sign up with them depending on their membership requirements.
a dispassionate mound of glaucous ash the warmth lost ready to die out at any moment
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.
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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.
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finding comfort in a chunky knit sweater and sherpa-lined socks hands clasped around my favourite mug the steamy scent of hot ginger wine waltzing in the air with the aroma of an oud wood candle while the crackle of beechwood burning on the tv soothes selflessly the hardest choice I have is deciding what book to get lost in.
the bronze leaves are tenderly hurtling to the forest floor a patchwork quilt of misfortune and malaise sewn and laid by rattling clunking gusts the ash, beech and birch succumb to their own stark beauty
This poem was originally published on my Instagram/Twitter to celebrate National Poetry Day