Sowing discord

27 September 2011 § 8 Comments

Seeds of change

One for the rook
One for the crow
One to wither
One to grow.

One for the deluge
One for the drought
One each for the pigeon
And mouse to dig out.

One for the subsidy
One for the crash.
One for the Government
Desperate for cash.

One for the trader
In futures, who bets
On prices, then pockets
The millions he gets.

One for the banks.
Make that two – make that ten.
No, make it a billion.
And then start again.

One for the climate,
Now warming, it seems.
One for our hopes.
One for our dreams.

One for our gluttony
One for our greed
None for the millions
We choose not to feed.

One for the rook,.
One for the crow.
One to wither.
One to grow.

The farmers are already busy drilling next year’s cereal crops, and I’ve had the old rhyme about seeds that bookends this poem going round in my head all day. Blame the Party Conference season for the rather downbeat tone of the stuff in between!

A thorny subject

25 September 2011 § 12 Comments

By any other name?

Call me
Barbed-flower
Flesh-ripper
Swell-tendon
Blood-dripper.

My scent is dulled
My colour bled
My suckers rampant
Leaders dead.

Call me
Shirt-snagger
Finger-finder
Hand-harrow
Eye-blinder.

Hack me down
Cut me deep
Burn my remains
Leave me to sleep.

Call me
Fly-ridden
Rust-spotted
Mildew-powdered
Canker-rotted.

Then tell me how
Sweet I smell now.

Pruned a rose bush this morning. Didn’t enjoy it much!

Testing times

14 September 2011 § 9 Comments

Blood work

Someone in a lab
Is looking through a lens
At a smear of blood and lymph.
An anonymous clutch
Of nameless cells
In search of an identity.

A blackthorn snapped off
And driven deep,
Bee-sting, dog-bite,
Barbed-wire tear, unseen blow –
Any of the litany
Of injury attending dogs like him
(Long on legs, short on brain)
Might have forced the flesh to swell
Into the hen’s egg
That now lurks, submarine-sinister
Beneath his velvet skin.

Or something else:

That single drop
From the tablespoonful the syringe drew off
Will tell all.

So we await the blood-work
Wondering what they’ll find
And how much we stand to lose.

Hurricane Katia

12 September 2011 § 9 Comments

Someone else’s storm

The oak is full of surf-sounds.
The poplars hiss and twist
Branches bent like umbrellas
Blown inside-out.
Twigs, leaves, small branches litter
The verge and gutter,
Pigeons hurtle over the wood
Like artillery shells:
Even the drowsy river
Is stippled and disturbed,
Raked by cat’s-paws.
Clouds big as counties
Shutter the sun, sending shadows
Running like hounds over the plough
And under it all
A deep-drone fugue
For Aeolian harp
Played on gates and power lines.
The land shakes, waits,
Wondering what will break upon it
As force and fury tear across
Three thousand miles of ocean.
And here we are
Caught up again
In someone else’s storm.

Forecast

5 September 2011 § 11 Comments

Spells of rain

The Met Office –
With all their talk
Of satellites
Doppler radar
And models crunched on mainframes –
Don’t fool me:
 
In her den
Beneath the building
The weather-witch
Is in control.
 
Firing up her cauldron
She conjures clouds
From the rising steam.
More cackled incantations
Fill them, chill them
Then spill them over southern England.
 
And on the screen
Her familiar
In the form of a smiling, suntanned man
Foretells her next week’s wicked work:
 
To put us under
Spells of rain
And turn fair Summer
Into a crabbed and wrinkled Autumn.

Daylight robbery

1 September 2011 § 15 Comments

Blackberry picking
(with apologies to Seamus Heaney)

Summer sits
In fat, black clots,
Sun-warm in tubs
That once held ice-cream.

Thorns tear at hands, clothes,
Punishing our thievery,
Staining light fingers
Dark with juice.

And, neatly packed in glossy flesh,
The sun comes home with us
To rise again in steam and sweetness
When the cold days fall.

Where Am I?

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