Poetry

The Western Isles: Checkmate

Passionate as a chess game. A place of reckoning and memory and beauty and bogs.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/the_western_isles_checkmate-12449

Jelly and Ice Cream (Neist, Skye)

1999, took the ferry across to Armadale on Skye
Was astounded by the fairytale, dreams-come-true beauty
Disembarked. By the time we’d driven to Portree
Clouds had pressed down as if smothering an infant
Throwing us in a Mr Whippy machine. Didn’t see
A view again, failed to climb a single route
It was my birthday that week. Made the trip with a guy
On spec. Kind of liked each other. Nothing came of it

All those years I swore never to return to Scotland
Unless Met Office guaranteed wall-to-wall sunshine
How is it, in 2019, I’m parked at Neist Point, the van
Lurching in northerlies, raindrops wobbling like jellies?
Scottish Rock Volume Two and Skye Sea-cliffs and Outcrops
Closed on the bench seat. Set off north on impulse
When the guy I kind of liked went back to his wife
It’s my birthday. Still making the same wishes

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Gogarth: A Gala Performance

The Hollywood of Wales! Poems from a glorious long weekend in May:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/gogarth_-_a_gala_performance-12183

Seal

It was a gala extravaganza
Head and shoulders out of the water
Appraised me directly

Then double checked
Left eye, right eye, made certain
I was paying attention

Before backflipping
An exit. Displaying his whole stomach
What a performance!

I’ve not seen seals in
Pembroke or Cornwall flaunt themselves
So gaily. Ta-da! Lights! Action!

Then he popped up to assess
The reception. I applauded, of course
And he went. What a show-off!

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Kalymnos: The Smooth and the Rough

Two weeks on Kalymnos – A curate’s egg:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/kalymnos_the_smooth_and_the_rough-11965

Honey

For all its apparent barrenness
The Kalymnian landscape is in fact
Mainly edible

The stones, you would spit out
But oregano, thyme, fennel, sage
Grow all over these hills

Figs and olives, the trees
Goats and sheep, free-range
And sharing the feast whilst making honey, bees

The island provides food with the least
Intrusive farming mechanisms. It all seems wild
Except the sheep and goats have bells

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The Song of Bare Blåbær

Full collection from Lofoten up here: https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/poetry_-_song_of_bare_blabaer-11834

Song of Bare Blåbær

Granite is fashioned for symphonic performance
Here in ice-cut Djupfjord
Cracks and slabs keep time
Across millennia

At this moment
In high summer
Human feet and hands clap along
To the Song of Bare Blåbær

Kick-drum of toe jams with extra reverb
A melody of finger locks
And always the deep chanting hum
Of the mountain

On the narrow valley floor
A saltwater fjord and
Freshwater lake
Recline amongst the bilberries and applaud

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My new year’s resolution

was to get some poetry in print. Today beanbag went up on the Algebra of Owls site:

beanbag

the other night at band practice we
had a whole discussion about the exclusivity of
velvet and how corduroy was the
string of the king

the beanbag was my throne
wide velour stripes off-white king of the desert like
ozymandias on the beige
carpet of my loft

brand new just carved i filled it myself with
a helper its not easy two vast bags of
polystyrene balls getting everywhere going everywhere
like sand

the cat sleeps here it took her a while to get used to
the way the sides shift she experimented with
steady backsliding progress and
huge astonished leaps

two days after i locked the catflap exit by mistake
she came all the way to the top of the house to
do a giant shit on my beanbag. The king is dead!
long live the queen

Star and Garter

The “Star and Garter” poem is presently on display on the Speaker’s Corner section of the community notice board right outside the Star and Garter pub.

“…residential streets / asleep while the Star and Garter stretches and / dims…”

A Small Blue Plaque

Buy “A Small Blue Plaque” for £3 in the UK (or trade with your zine)

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