Sunday, 31 October 2010

Black Swan by Roger James

Black Swan

You took your time coming. It’s 44 degrees
in the Blue Mountains, Eucalyptus explodes
as you struggle up and down your mum’s stomach,
banging on her heart , one thumb in the mouth,
ignoring ultrasounds and alarmed academics,
irresponsibly kicking the placenta to one side,
enlarging the liquor-dome till she can’t walk,
cannoning hormones, borrowing her oxygen.

And we were up on the snowy side of the planet
waiting for the sun’s penumbra to shift to Spring,
until that morning we saw a black swan on the lake
and I knew you’d come out yawning and calling,
the exception that would not be put off, one of
those things you rely on when the world seems stuck.
You’d opened your eyes. Another explosion.

Roger James

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Builder by John Lyons

The Builder
He observed men building houses:
how they cleared ground
for digging to bed-rock.

He watched them balancing,
with the body’s knowledge,
pillatrees on steep slopes.

He marvelled at the way
things came together with intimacy
of halving joints, mortise and tenon,
constructing a logic men live by.

For a long time he stood beneath immortelles
in awe with corn birds weaving hanging nests;
he knew then it would take a life-time
of ingenuity to build the house
he wished to grow wise in.

It was hard work digging a pit of clay,
dancing in the straw with bare feet,
pugging mortar to shape rooms to his desire.

As he danced, he dreamed of moulding
a room around silence, a place in which to foetal-curl,
suspend thoughts of how to survive;
another, without corners,
walls smoothed to a mirror
with the friction of love.

He danced dreaming
of the one where he would store
the things he had given power to:
an owl’s mummified wing,
his navel string, never planted,
withered like a dead yam vine;
the cosmic pebble, like a bull’s black eye
that almost struck his father down.

The last room was for his mother.
She died when he was nine.

John Lyons

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Fittings by Frances Knight


A pink striped sailors suit,
gingham dirndl, a dogtooth coat –
even once, a denim bikini.

So many outfits there’ve been
my progress mapped and measured
in cool, smooth tailor's chalk,

until the day I stood fidgeting
in paisley needlecord, all shades of red
my mother pinning me at the hemline:
stay still, stay still why don’t you

Realising that although the dress was perfect,
I no longer fit.

Frances Knight

Monday, 11 October 2010

Thanet launch event

Maggie Harris is organising an event for us on Friday 3 December 7pm - 9pm at Hilderstone Adult Education Centre, Broadstairs.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Girl with a Red Umbrella by Susan Wicks

Girl with a Red Umbrella

It was a high red dome
of cloth, black-spotted, some kind of bug –
a ladybird –
and she stood beneath it speechless,
pink in its reflected glow.

The two white crescents of its eyes
were two white flags on a billow of red sail

or pennants fluttering slowly down
through layers of grey air

to land her safely here at the glass door.

Is there any way to write about her?
Something I hardly know

clutches and opens,
starts to run warm
and I shut it off.

But isn’t it possible
to see a red umbrella over a tiny girl
and think of – what?
-- the oh, the ah,
the yes of it, the laugh

that’s something like hope?
At her side her father
touches her small elbow
and smiles, seeing my face. He nudges her gently

gently forward, under the collapsing ribs.

Susan Wicks