Poems - Issue 4
Issue 4 features poems and short stories on the theme of 'borders and bridges'. Included below are 3 poems from the issue, by the following writers:
Clare Best: Clare's first full collection, Excisions, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize, 2012. Other poetry publications include: Treasure Ground, Breastless and CELL. Springlines, a collaboration with the painter Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis, has been published by Little Toller in spring 2017. http://clarebest.co.uk/.
Gram Joel Davies: Gram's first collection, Bolt Down This Earth, is published by V. Press 2017. His poem for this issue was written in connection with the @Trios2017 art project and inspired the issue's front cover image. He lives in Devon. http://gramjoeldavies.uk.
Matt Howard: Matt lives in Norwich, where he works for the RSPB. He is also a steering group member of 'New Networks for Nature', an eco-organisation that asserts the central importance of landscape nature in our cultural life. His debut pamphlet, The Organ Box, was published by Eyewear in 2014.
So many Good Fridays since the planting
and now at last you see
magnolia buds above the red leaves of roses –
a mass of white to comfort you
until the petals drop.
This April, your boy would be twelve –
standing head to chest with father, brother
and you would be
his mother. You are his mother.
Black cold. No sun. April afternoon
two years on. I position the steps
next to the tree in the pot
in the concrete garden
and climb. Numb-faced, numb-
fingered, I stay at the top
with the scissors in my right hand
and snip off sixty-eight flower buds –
counting, letting each one
fall into the clear plastic bowl
I hold in my left. The wind argues
but for an hour I stand firm.
It’s only when I bring the bowl in
to the warm kitchen that I know
the grey buds smell of lemon
just as the flowers used to.
I imagine how one day
we will mark the circle,
dig the hole
twice the width it needs to be
and twice the depth –
how we will haul
the awkward pot, how together
we will lift the magnolia,
lower its root ball into the earth,
and fill, and pour water.
How we will go indoors
to sit at the table
by the window of the new house
and talk about next April –
the buds, the lemon scent,
the white flowers.