Homecoming

I hesitate over the Hollyhock seeds,
a gift from an unwelcome visitor,
plucked from her coastal garden.
She wished to cultivate friendship
but this is not a land for expectations.
Some days there is too much sky
and the earth shrinks in subservience.
The northerlies and easterlies razor
high hopes to humble proportions.
I prepare soil sheltered by fencing
and umbrella bamboo, fronds scorched
by storm. I shake the Hollyhock seeds
into my palm. Alien, irregular. I sprinkle
and mark the spot with a scallop shell.
Three years on, a hot September, I return
from hospital having almost missed
first bloom; tall, triumphant and sizzling
cerise in a land that favours the small.

 

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Artwork by the author

 

Feel the Burn

city people drift
to the country
set fire
to their shoes

seven geese beneath
the alder tree
deep scars
like zeros

dreaming of the stars
many bonfires
on mars
like heroes

wagon trains grinding
a northern trail
again
and again

escaping like smoke
funeral pyres
remain
white settlers

scheming of scarlet
heaven on earth
cinders
like skin

float up in the dark
broken chimneys
crumble
to moss

country people drift
to the city
set fire
to their shoes

 

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Artwork by the author. Acrylic, household paint and collage on canvas.

 

 

 

 

Resurrection

I’ve won this battle but I can’t win the war.
Like a vampire back from the dead,
I regenerate in fancy dress disguise.
This moustache doesn’t suit me at all
and spaghetti legs flip/flopping
every which way – most unnerving.
My spine is trying to reach the floor,
running low on back bone and needing a nap.
My arms whirl in decreasing circles,
muscles have given up the ghost.
Where is the sultry woman in the gold silk robe?
My heart still beats in dedicated syncopation,
an expectation of holy communion, the red
wine that I must sip not spill. My heart
forgives any casual blasphemy,
rebellion of malformation.
And I, the unbeliever, swear to uphold the creed.
On my left shoulder, smooth as ocean
a lonesome fish swims against the tide
and dreams of new beginnings.
Where is the chamomile child spinning down the hill?
She forgets the scars and stripes, puckering
my wrist, tribal markings. A rite of passage
or a reclamation of self? Mutinous but lightening.
My translucent skin, wafer thin, is a manuscript
revealing the indigo text of an alien race.
Where is the pearly newborn hidden in her crib?
So near and yet so far. I must cut deep
to draw blood. Beneath the thumb is the scared
and sacred spot where the pulse beats.

 

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Image created by the author

 

 

 

Wet Cat Painting

Sometimes you have to go with the flow. I had a catastrophe with my new painting today.  I had just begun with delicate washes of grey, lemon, blue and violet when my cat Spider crashed through the cat flap – soaking wet and dripping after falling into the stream at the bottom of my garden. She shook herself, splattering water on my masterpiece and then lay down on it.  So I decided to transform it into this….not my usual style but fun.  I’m calling it April Showers.

 

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A cat and human collaboration.