snow do-se-do-s with sun,
weather musters for a weekend
Photo by Belinda Latchford
each and every year
the stalwart snapdragons
steadfast to the last,
push up pluckily
through the exterior walls
of the whitewashed pavilion
and out of the dull grey
blistering tarmac of the path,
old soldiers saluting each other.
bubblegum pink, salmon
and marshmallow, pillar box
red and peach and white,
like a variety of bonbons
from the pic’n’mix of the past.
Photo of Rocket Mix Snapdragon from Veseys.
its stone stippled with lichen,
mottled with moss as verdant
as the ancient forests of the crown,
this palace wall has borne witness
to the rise of kings, the trials and downfall
of chancellors and chamberlains.
its long, winding down days
have seen such splendour,
its nights passion as unbridled
as a waterfall swollen by rain.
its patient bricks stood mute
through betrothals and betrayals,
while the mistresses machinated
to evade the tower, helpless
to the whims of majesty,
as stags to the huntsman’s bow,
all at the mercy of a serial infatuate.
garlanded with ivy, wreathed in
the white bells of hedge bindweed,
an onlooker as the tourists pour in,
armed not with sword and shield
but with selfie sticks and curiosity.
and wait, those days have come again.
film crews white balance
for the mulled-wine draperies,
the rich tapestried interiors.
costumed actors vape and gossip,
empty vessels making noise,
heads glued to phones, they lean
against the wall, waiting to communicate,
to recreate, its glorious tudor past.
Picture of wall at walled garden, Kylemore Abbey by Belinda Latchford.
a day when the sun keeps breaking through/clouds that bleed light in jagged rims of gold/contrails streaked like messages/in a crisscrossed sky/a plaintive quality to its inbetweenness/its indecisive springness/clear and poignant/as the plangent bell tone of terry hall’s voice/(his face blank and deadpan as the foil in a comedy duo)/on an old episode of top of the pops/the sound of a slightly sulky child/called upon in class when unprepared/petulant/with an edge of melancholy
Not quite finished this …
seduced by the flaming
brilliance of the horizon,
as the sun goes down,
splendid with sadness,
mourning the day,
this wordsworthian sun
dissolves into the ocean,
which holds a while longer
the memory of burnished gold;
as your retina still carries
the imprint of light
when you close your eyes.
the edges of everything
are blurred by dusk,
as if god sought to childproof
the sharp corners of the world.
the day, unseized,
becomes the morrow.
under a sycamore in the school field
crosslegged brown kneed girls,
grime-edged plasters peeling
from gravel grazes,
blue-black hair in raggedy bunches,
solemnly daisychain the lunch hour away,
as if engaged in some crucial
ceremony of passage.
heads bowed to the close task,
absorbed and content
as sheep cropping grass on a hillside,
placid and self-contained.
confederates at least
until the end of break,
by taking each other seriously.
they unwind their pliant limbs
to stretch under branches,
the shade a sacrament
the girls are cool and pure, an oasis,
their spirits like chill glasses of milk,
aloof from boisterous games,
while the boys buzz and fizz and hover,
a cloud of insects round a picnic.
savages that whoop around them,
rough and energetic,
mystified by stillness,
defeated by indifference,
wild with their brief freedom
from the classroom’s clock face.
as a chocolate biscuit left on a plate.
constantly at odds with the landscape,
scaling trees and kicking stones,
stamping on ants,
killing for the sake of it.
they abide by time-honoured
bragging rights on bloodshed,
protocols of play, merciless and cruel.
but a handclap can release
them all from bondage
and the whole drama’s
circumlocuted by a bell.
Photo by Belinda Latchford
so lonesome the sound
of someone else’s fireworks
on the eve of a blank new year.
of colour and light
glimpsed through a crack
in the living room curtains
you’ve drawn against
the world’s cold draft.