Grief

Published at Ink Pantry 

http://www.inkpantry.com/poetry-drawer-five-poems-by-jenny-middleton/

 

we row, hearing only our oars

 pluck the sigh of ripples free

from the lake’s swish of midnight

 

and silence, lifting water to sudden

 cold light, cutting and breaking at the damp

float of moss that clings to the cold 

 

wooden skin of our craft

the stir of sand and silt scurries

 beneath us as we pull on,

 

heavy with grief, our backs turned

from the shore and its familiar

round, worn stones, moving

 

onwards and away, towards

the tangle of the nearing tree strutted

embankment, its branches open

 

and different with day.

 

Sleep- Some Scenarios

  1. Absence.
    From the beginning you wept, tossing
    and un-soothed, suckling milk
    to an exhaustion that gaped
    from a hungry, red mouth.

    We paced and sang rhyming reels,
    running and running their rhythms
    amongst the thinning air,
    heated by your wails.

    Then wings, gentle and absolute
    with downy sleep
    would brush us and rock us
    from such barrenness.

    2. Accidental.
    Sofas sag with TV induced stupor
    and beer bottles brag of an evening lounge,
    gathering in glazed emptiness
    on the coffee tables while you sleep,
    fully clothed, as the drone of day
    spirals fitfully to insubstantial rest.

    Later you will jolt awake,
    bleary, shirt astray and stumble
    against the furniture of the world
    stripped to 2AM; stark
    with the inconsequence of failure.

    3. Induced.
    Sleep arrives in the form of opaline tablets
    marooned on a sanitised, metal tray,
    each pill an island thudding with escape.

    They slip between your waxy lips
    and soon breath is a stringy rattle
    clambering to the air, while dreams lurch
    un-fettered beneath your eye-lids,

    unwrapping the last of the world
    amongst the dim lights of a hospice ward.

 

 

On Worthing Beach

 

Smooth shingle, rounded by sea,
slides and sinks as we walk,
unevenly as the tide
does in its blinking and glistening
suck at the shore, lapping
us in our race to print the sands.
Its salty rush at us, cool even
in summertime.

The wind full of bluster
and smudges of faraway
fairground jangles
haunts our walk,
intercepting our words
with its stolen sounds.

So even as you push your fingers
against the crevices of my palm
and pull me to you,
we feel the persistence of centuries
echo within the town, the tide
and the gulls’ clasp of the paling sky
ring at us.
Our footsteps vanishing already
to the hold of the land.

 

 

Saturday Evening – Suburbia

 

The trees here are suburban stooges,
the stand-ins for a woodland,
growing in the dim expanse
of a backyard,
their shared vision grown to leaves
and translated, in mob, to the breeze,
their whispered drool in stereo
with the screech
of hand break spins
that greet this neighbourhood
from the supermarket car-park,
where, on evenings like these
its empty space is loot - for some-
to race with; to fill the trivia
of time with
and escapist fumes elude
the labour of trees.
Oxygen and air a cloak
as scarce as day.

 

 

I Realised When I Heard Him Play

 

that instead of talking he was glossing
life to a pop song's day,
fizzy with vacancy.

While his violin sung of a river;
long notes following long notes
in ripples pushed to air
from the eddy and flurry of water
circling in the dank murk of the weir.

His bow’s strong strokes
alive with sorrow swung
from beneath the current’s keening push
of minnows swum to minim beats
then to semibreves

while his fingers leapt between
fine, taut strings coaxing
music from hollow mahogany
to sing the sadness
of the sentences unsaid.

Curve

The curve of you waking wisw