Sunday, 13 September 2015

O Willow

From Smethwick to Wolverhampton, Birmingham Canal

Piebald pony in sham heat
roped to a lamp post
on a Tipton verge


It isn't love if it isn't love
goes the switch box


on pen stems



Coseley Tunnel
kept air sharpens
with droplet calcium

The front light's swamped



He's crouched by the bank
with a thin stripped branch
as if half divining

Weeds in the water
are half seen
Are they creaking?

Crickets are all
a shook
their organ legs

We PAN, with slowly streaming weeds


and blackberries blacken
past black to rot dust


At the outskirts
inflammable tanks
will dissolve
halfarsed feathered mysteries


well there is
no rain just
whitened sky


  1. The sham heat and kept air of a doldrum world that holds its breath before running off a cliff are no less fit subject for poetry than any imagined or remembered pastoral situation in the historical time before the weather changed, though it becomes harder by the day to recall/believe that that time ever existed.

    Annotation yes, yet a perceptible and welcome continuity between moments and mysteries. The forgive-me-nots section is a very lovely lyric, one feels the weeds trailing in the water (I thought of the wonderful riverside passage in Upon Appleton House), and the double take on PAN gives us both the camera motion and the presiding genius who will perhaps refresh these underwoods. The organ-legged shook crickets, in fact the whole piece, reminiscent in a good way of Clare. And a pleasure at that.

  2. Plenty of sharp observation here and all accompanied by an unerring ear.