copeland-winter

July:

Stephanie Conn:   Winter

 

We are cut off from the mainland again;

a pile of unopened letters sits in Donaghadee;

there is flour and salt and treacle in the grocer’s,

bags of coal and paraffin to fill the empty tins,

but the boat keeps close to the harbour wall.

Tide in, tide out and the beam of light,

and a distant moon – waxing and waning.

Still, the bread is baked and the butter churned,

the blocken cured and the rabbits trapped,

mussels are plucked from the island pools

and pickled in jars on larder shelves.

The firewood and driftwood is stacked.

Tide in, tide out and the beam of light,

and a distant moon – waxing and waning.

Inside the lamps are lit and curtains pulled,

while out at sea, the wind and waves confront

each other in torrents of eddies and pools

and the gulls circling above the spume

could be vultures in the thick sea-mist.

Tide in, tide out and the beam of light,

and a distant moon – waxing and waning.

But we know what the darkness brings;

it drags us from sleep into nightmare, lost in fog

we’ll be struck by ship after floundering ship;

forced into the driving rain, where muffled voices call

from their wreck. We’ll run to the shore to save all we can.

Tide in, tide out and the beam of light,

and a distant moon – waxing and waning.

In a place such as this, we are used to the ghosts,

but not to their dying; never to the bodies of young men

washed up on the shore, with their puffed up faces

and gaping sockets where the eyes should be; or the tiny crab

emerging from a silenced mouth to scurry, ever sideways.

bubamara_blog_cottura_raku00

Gaia Holmes:  Hygge

hygge (n): A Danish word which, roughly translated, means, the art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other.

 

Tonight, with you calm, clean,

smelling of lavender in your new pyjamas

and the fire I’ve been trying to kindle for hours

finally settling itself down to blaze

and crackle and glow,

I light all the candles I can find,

put Tallis on the stereo, sit holding your hand.

Tonight the sea will be too wanton

to carry a ferry.

No one will come and no one will go

and in the morning there will be

no fresh bread or milk

on the shelves of the village shop.

Tonight we will keep the cats in.

Tonight, we will be landlocked and cosy

as rain pelts the windows like little pearls

and bolshy wind rocks the caravan.

.

Tonight I will feel your knots unravelling,

our bond thickening

as love and thin motets chase the cold

from the corners of the room,

and I will almost forget

that you are dying.

girders 3

Jim Caruth:   Play the harp backwards

Who taught them to sling bridges from wires,

to walk straight-backed as convent girls,

along the narrow girders of high towers,

backs to the wind, never daring to look down.

Clustered in the tenements of Brooklyn

and the Lower East Side, like raucous gulls

lining the white hem of a small island

whose name comes in a half-remembered tongue.

At nights you’d find them in the bars

along the waterfront, reciting a catechism

of names as they listened to the old songs,

while outside snow fell on the desolate streets

and the Hudson heaved like a wounded animal.

When the money ran out, they fingered

the dust in their pockets, staggered home

to small rooms, to dream of a mail-boat

rounding the Head, a town shivering

in the yellow glow of street-lamps.

street

Yvie Holder:   Milkman

                                                                                   

I can’t help

this: all my life

the early song,

first one ringing,

piercing the near-light,

cracking my night-shell,

then another, almost an echo,

like a chuckle, then a love-call

and more and more, scooping me up

out of sleep into life, out to the scent of dew-damp earth

and the clinking rhythms of glass and crate, out into my secret bliss,

my own street chorus, the swirl and the whoop of it –

every dawn my rebirth.

Here, no-one remembers the way things were, no-one knows who I am:

as soon as I wake to the music, the calling, they’re swishing around

in plastic aprons, smothering me at four in the morning,

flushing away my crimson dawns, weighting my limbs

with sleeping-pills. I’m gagged, bound

and buried inside

their antiseptic

days.

But

I can’t help

this: straining

to break the muzzle in my head,

to breathe, to stretch and touch the pristine air,

sense its pinch on my cheeks, gulp its moist breath, be airborne

among warbling eaves and aerial-staves and silhouette-quavers

on whispering wires, riding the breeze in the morning streets, ascending

to my invisible choirs, my madrigal joy.

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