apple sheds

they are the faintest of years
a stretch of days long whispered away
reeled and stowed with so much dust but

memories can be plucked by the briefest scent
of redolent sweet astringent vines
their fruit as red and plump as love and calling back

simple patulous summers of trikes and nettled knees
hiding from the lemony bright sun
in an orchard’s tattered shade

and into the quiet cluttered womb
of oil pungent apple sheds
boxes stacked in silent towers

pregnant with patient Egremont
waiting their turn for the table
or to disappear in my greedy grasp

and what else has been spirited away
that does not live on colour bleached film
or the furthest reaches of me

hartwood asylum

doves-foot flowers in the walls
a creeping petalled caress

bracken rooted brick and mortar
letting go its grip where

splintered windows yawn
their silent decaying scream

born of melancholy skies
abandoned, left to the rain

like the aberrated mortals
this mizzle covered carcass used to contain

and a sign points the way to the dead
where their freshly laundered souls

can be collected, as they wander
trailing spectral fingers through rip-gut brome

unsure of what to do
now that distempers’ veils are gone

the lowering tide

a view of contemplation spreads
wider than sight
and a gentle coastal din speaks
voices we have come to ignore
though thistle crowns lean as if to listen still

eddies of wind pirouette and ruffle
salted and muckish, in from a silver slate sea
that slides surely from beyond horizons
insatiable waters drawn in by siren sands
nibbling at the shore with delicate lips

and the thin sky offers a downpour of scuttering feet
sinuous settling feathered sheet
a choir of chattering tenors
with urgent probing heads
that raid the twice daily pantry
surging pool to rivulet in collective isolation
a tide not pulled by the moon

and I hide
in the dimple of the dune
a distant observer
soused in the still and calm
savoring the delicacy of the untouched
saving my bruising step for better trodden paths

rock pool

a little boy
nut-brown boy
the softest shell
haunched on crusted rock
dandled by hot barnacled air
and lulled by the slurp of the sea

he weaves tomorrow’s havens
with the dip of a net on a stick
into the glittering aequorial quiet
a caress of lilliput gossamer fronds
leaving trails in his mind that will
guide his way home
when he needs


and the dawn comes easily as waking
an inkling of light on the long soft road from the dark
that draws the conscience from its slumber
with a gradual new awareness for patient eyes.
a bark, echoes, sharp as a blade
cutting through the frosted veil
a first voice calling against the hunger of silence
and a need to know there are others waiting to hear
survivors from the long step of night
whose departing disquiet leaves its sweat
to bead and glisten on bedazzled hedgerows
droplets of reparation mirroring the stars
that lay at the feet of the first to stretch and stir
a freshly carpeted chill of renewal