Resilience – recent poetry

For those who like poetry, maybe even for those who don’t or are wary. Give these a try. You just never know.

If you are viewing these on a smart phone, the line action may be astray.

 

Resilience 1

When still within the story
or the unsteadying silence

or when at best
the only sound is boundless
time – its headlong whoosh – your bare foot on the floor
to begin again this long struck morning

the sky as unsure of itself as it was
above that day of fog and ocean, formless
yet skin tight round this land work of breath
or as it will be later – the storm’s eye –

restless cream and bestial mauve you take up
the shaky pen, unready for the next
line

The Wren

 

The wren
left the branch

like death – altogether lighter –
delighted to let go,

gravity become so
cumbersome.

Entering the trees,
I cannot see her now

on this unfortunate earth
as the foot stalls,

but somehow know
that the tiny black

blazing eye
follows me.

Pineapple

 

The sound of thought had died down
while he was eating tinned pineapple chunks
in their own syrup on his bed with a cake fork.

He knew that a spot of light rain was due
was glad he didn’t need to fetch more bread or milk.
It was always like this at the end of the season.

The tourists had fled and chip shops boarded up.
He would see his old mate pissing against a wall
and not know what to say to make it better

for either of them. If he had a dog, perhaps
he’d get more exercise, but middle age spread
was the least of his worries. He could end it

in The Netherlands, but knew he wasn’t such a dramatist.
He’d probably see things out closer to home,
a bit of Classic FM, pineapple (in water

– his tongue tingled. Maybe allergic)
view of the ocean. He was OK. Sometimes,
it was nice just to sit and not think too much.

The Plans I Had

 

I would build a rock pool
to see me through,
a smoothing waterfall
dedicated to the hours

where I would entertain
long lost cousins
with stories of how
mere words freeze time.

Stilled carp and lily pads,
definitely a bird table
with a pair of sprightly goldfinches
at a worn down fat ball,

my dad with his shirt off,
two-finger typing at his Smith-Corona
me and mum splitting pea pods,
tight in our summer corner.

I will become a footballer.
The house remain unsold.
I will not need to write
or build a rock pool.

 

A Death

 

It had carried us eighty thousand miles.
On our way to the End Of The Road festival
we had come to a halt by a rape seed field
after a seismic shift in engine temperature
and the arrow’s whizz around the gauge’s arc,
the volcanic bonnet spewing hot ferocious
yellow jets, everyone at me screaming stop,
then panicky behind the low and puny metal fence
artics bombing at us blind around the curve
waiting for somebody to answer the damn phone
hook us up to some local mechanical god
for life support, miraculous revival
or the heartless, now seemingly inevitable

putting down. Now we wait, late
aggrieved, bereaved in Enterprise Car Rental
near Poundbury, classic FM, paperwork done
with surprisingly good, complimentary coffee
waving to our tied-down, still hissy heap
on the back of Billy’s monstrous truck,
accelerating back up to the A35.
One of the kids wants a coke, the other
to be very very sick. I want bed,
weepy Susan a couple of photographs
of our never to be seen again (whisper it
‘dead’) 1999 Toyota Corolla
1.6 GLS silver (grey) automatic.

Resilience 2

 

Out of Ferny Hill along the A111
as it nears the roar of the M25
there are three hollowed out abandoned cars
one grey, one blue, one silver.

And you know what they say about abandoned cars.
And you know what abandoned cars mean, right?

They mean
the chance of again
dauntless blue rhythm from the songster’s throat,
a man who does something finally of consequence,
snowdrops that covered the battlefield
once Spring melted the snow.
The knife in the hand, dropped.
Sign at the edge of the bluebell meadow
that tells of ‘keep off’ and how

you’ve had it with that.
That’s what abandoned cars mean.
Don’t let anyone tell you different.

Avocet

 

I used to be able to sit
in damp wellies and blue kagool
under the rain-beaten corrugated iron roof
of a low cold hide scanning the Broads.

I used to be able to wait
for the waders to come sift at low tide,
their scuttle and wash of greys and browns,
dreams of Bellamy and Attenborough.

I used to be able to listen
for the curlew’s cry, tick off
the dunlin, knot and sanderling
in our tatty Observer Book of Birds.

I used to be able to see
through thickening hours of mist,
thermos and jam sandwiches without crusts
softening crisps on the tongue so as not to scrunch.

I used to be able to watch
the tide crawl back across the marsh,
risen flocks against the low red sun
and at last, an avocet.

 

Thin

Poets are supposed to be thin, as though the words they use feed off their bodies; their bodies shrink a few centimetres every day under the effects of all the images and ideas that fall on their heads. From Gertrude. By Hassan Namji.

 

I have eaten, but my metabolism is against me,
used to be good
at woodwork,

am not where I ought to be
on the scale,

dream of a salon
next to a kitchen
next to a couch
and looming gargantuan therapist,

wake, unblinking
to explosions of dust.

It is not just us.
Flowers grow weightless.
The room too small to house our travelings.
Moon heavy. Teapots gaseous.

Ingenious doctors are either
worried or insufficiently curious.

Scans reveal echoing beams
through and back and through
the walls of the machine,
me, a corona.

They need cause
though I may be useful
for the future of education.

My sister told me it would be so, then left me alone.
Nobody important visits.

Dog only knows – he is as thin as me.
We hover together across silent parks
distill, evaporate, become steam
drifting, hallelujah, over grass.

If you liked these poems, or even if you did not, try some of my other blogs about: healthcare, mental health, patient and public engagement, or maybe more poetry?

© David Gilbert, 2017

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