Sunday, 4 May 2014

A few poems from my collections ...

from 'Salt Road'

Limestone Outcrop Birkrigg

You can sit on any
of these limestone outcrops

watching Meadow Browns land on
harebells, Alpine ladies slippers
or tormentil, listen to the wind
shushing bracken
as you sit sheltered, dog to one side
panting, waiting for a stick
to be thrown.
Listen to larks rising, 
pulling scent of thyme from earth,
their song falling like water.

Should you ever get bored with tormentil,
Meadow Browns or harebells, raise your eyes,
look at horses on the horizon.
Sea-Jay or shire mare, Annelise,
or white ones
folding over mudflats and marram
as the tide licks its way
into gulleys and channels.

Don’t be fooled,
it may look as though it’s creeping –
each wave searching
for a foothold
but underneath lies its venom,
quicksand and currents.

Watch it
rush in under the viaduct at Plumpton,
or sit near the hide at the south end of Walney
when it empties the Bay,

returns to the Irish Sea.

Well drilled

Morecambe Bay

I've never seen this before, oyster-catchers stretched out
in a well-drilled line as the tide comes in
the roar of its dull thunder powering the sea
that pours across flat sands.

One moment
I could've sworn all I saw was mud, but
as the sun breaks cover
to draw the bay silver, it’s the tide I see
bellying in with sidewinder waves
and the birds, black-and-white waiters with orange bills
dragging it in on invisible filaments
like a table cloth
all along the edge of the sea
over flat, grey mud where waves curve
and birds scurry, actors
in the twice daily drama of drawing
the tide shorewards.

All Day i Sit in the Woods

we have come to the edge of the woods”
            ‘Jacklight’, Louise Erdrich

All day I sit in the woods, dreaming
all day and all night I sit,
my hair on fire with the wind.

All day I sit and sing. 

All day I sit my back against this pine
my breathing slows, becomes sap 
that oozes up and down the tree’s spine. 

All day I sit and sing, my back to the wind.

All day and all night the flashlights green
as northern lights, all night I and the pines
weave a song from alders and willows

that live below the horizon.

All day I claw my mind to the top of the woods
my hands somersault over and under 
become a tapestry of limbs.

I and the wind and the pines discover each other again. 
Discover the smell of men, their cigarette breath, their 
unhinged shotgun fingers triggered, crooked.

All day I sit and weave the wind
my hair becomes grey lichen
I hang from branches.

My name now is no name
my body is white and silver
my name is birch and alder.

My tongue the sound of finches
my feet sewn deep into earth
all day I grow deeper

from 'The Other Side of the Bridge'

me and janine

vickers shipyard, barrow-in-furness, 1973

legs swinging and us licking ice creams
on the submarine dock our platform shoes
cool and wonderful and the men whistling
and shouting hey love, gi'e us a lick!
and when we turned and gave them you know a
sidelong look they laughed but me and janine
we knew they didn't mean anything by it they
were just joshing so anyhow we sat there
with our ice creams trickling down the side
of the cones golden and crisp the flakes falling
onto our mini skirts and we knew we'd have to
go back in soon but the day was warm it was warm
it was summer we were seventeen and we looked good
and we knew it and we loved it when the sailors came -
foreign submariners from argentina israel the middle east
and russia and us listening to their funny accents
and they came here to vickers to board their subs
and our own being built alongside revenge
and resolution and them going on patrol
in the baltic or the pacific and me and janine 
dreaming of smuggling ourselves on board
to wake up in a foreign port somewhere --
which was just about when the hooter would go
and we had to go back in to our dusty offices
on the sub dock with the sun blocked out
and snopake and pens and a deep pile of papers
with typos to correct.

Crossing the Prairie

There goes green corn
fierce as tornadoes
her cougar skin rippled
her bright eyes dazed with
dust-storms and headlights
she crosses the prairie on
her greencorn song of misery
upright as telegraph poles
lining the freeways.

Boy whistles wind
wind comes running
wind combs her back
of greengold corn
for a hundred miles
combs greencorn hair.

Nightstars crackle
moonwafer breaks open.

At dawn, a deluge of buffalo
at dawn, their ghosts cross the plain
at dawn, their notorious herd of steam
their outrageous breath
their sweat and blood
their sinews and bones.

These ghosts of buffalo.
These man-haunting bison.

Ghost bison pound earth
their hooves the pestle
this land their mortar.

Look! a city catapults
itself across the sky:

a wave of cities
a deluge of buffalo
a rivering of ghosts.

Grass cracked moons
grass tricky as coyote
grass spilling greengold
handsome as cougar

moon mirror cracks
buffalo stampede
into dust
into headlights.

from 'Passio'

A poem not yet written

My grandmother painted buffalo
on the earth's curves
to teach me of the stars' courses

she sang of deer, stained her hair purple
and cried when I asked her
where she went to in her dreams

“bring me a bucket filled with feathers
she told me
and I will drink them

bring me a buckskin waterbag
filled with saltwater
and I will shape you a heaven
that will make you throw back your head
and laugh at canyons and coyotes

a heaven that will make your footprints spring to life in the sand

feel my years, here and here
great rivulets have streamed down my body
and the blood that burst from my belly
held your mother
held you

your body holds the buffalo I painted
on the cave walls
at Lascaux.”

 from 'The Skin'

The Mushroom Woman drew a muscle from her own thigh

(saying from Yanomami, Amazonas)

The Mushroom Woman drew a muscle from her thigh
cream & brown

I remember seeing her as she walked the dew
her thighs cool, smelling of earth.

The Mushroom Woman drew a muscle from her thigh
made it into flesh
                        she called it man

when she saw what she had made, she wept


she shaped him with cool fingers


these she parted

            breathed him alive.

Salt Road 2013 and The Other Side of the Bridge 2012 Indigo Dreams (ed. Ronnie Goodyer)
Passio 2006 and The Skin 2003 Flarestack Pubs. (ed. Charles Johnson)

Poems also appear in: 'Running Before the Wind' Grey Hen Press, 'Peony Moon', 'For Rhino in a Shrinking World', 'Smoke' magazine, Burns' Window Project, Dumfries

Geraldine Green Salt Road

please note; all poems are published, copyright Geraldine Green
Photos; Birkrigg Common, Kansas
all photos by Geraldine Green, copyright