With summer on its way, we thought it only fitting to make the theme of this month’s poetry showcase about nature. And our poets did not disappoint!
King in Exile
retaining that majesty
pertaining to an exiled king,
who must take
wary webbed steps
through hostile waters.
An askance glance,
set against a crowning plume,
overcast cloud regality.
We shall begin at the pub
A creaking old hole whose vintage murals
And imitation antique armchairs do
Little to disguise the drab reality that this
Up-market be-and-breakfast is only kept afloat
By the roaring horse laughter of cider-fuelled estate agents
And mass-produced Sunday dinners designed to feed
The out-of-town families and their geriatric relatives
Next door lies the church
Its graveyard shamelessly in bloom as shambling aunts
Croon and cry over the crocuses that lie smugly between
The two-dozen tombstones of villagers past
Whose long-interred remains crumble
Beside the ochre-stone house of God that now serves
As little but a stage for schoolkids’ nativities
And the subject of the crude sketch on a parish magazine cover
The village hall suffers a similar existence
Once the venue of community dinners and charity sales and
A thousand other James Herriot dioramas it now sits
Sullenly beside the chocolate-box church
A single paper notice clinging to its board upon which
Is taped a rain-soaked photograph of some long-lost cat
Unknown to the two young boys who idly chip a
Faded blue football against the carpark wall
Across the road at the village bus stop a beige-suited
Pensioner clings to a tartan shopping trolley as the chill
Breeze nips under her plastic rain hood and bites her worn-out face
Whilst a clutch of bored students fill the piss-stained shelter
Staring blankly beyond their headphones as they dream
Of nothing more radical than a bus that might
Show up on time and not cost the Earth to take them
To the seven-fifty jobs that await them in town
From behind fat laced curtains twitch the sniffling
Noses of the village Dursleyites who peer
And mumble at every passer-by that strolls past
The close-clipped hedgerows and well-buffed
Audis in the eternally vain desire that
Their poisoned remarks uttered between mouthfuls
Of fried egg and sausage grease may have some effect
Upon the world that lives and breathes beyond the cul-de-sac
Back at the pub springtime is in the Somersby air
The back doors are opened and the chuntering
Lawyers spill out into the garden in a wave of
Pastel pink and chino tan that mingles with
The puddles of lukewarm lager and the hum of patio heaters
Whilst a wash of new life rolls across the land the
Village lies still in the seeping stodgy mediocrity
That courses through its strangulated roots
Another Range Rover pulls into the pub carpark and
Under the crunch of gravel the farce begins anew.
i always imagined the woods on the horizon was home,
blue from the encroaching skyline leaving
the tops of trees hidden in haze.
they looked like surfacing whales to me,
green plains and crop filled fields
filling the void left by the water in our land locked world.
look there, it’s the tallest tree i can see from my bedroom window,
that, when the winter takes its covers,
pierces the clouds with delicate finger bones.
our trees could always be seen as they grew higher,
the highest in the world. i hadn’t heard of redwood,
and mountain ash was nowhere to be seen,
only our trees that sat on the edge of the valley shell,
the apricot flesh of which we were the stone.
from some windows the city sits sprawled,
flat except for the castle and the white rooves,
and on the very edge i’m still sure i see those trees.
i could reach over the metropolis to touch their cold leaves,
jump over the town to land on my muddy hill
and walk down the staggering paths
into the valley heart
and into home.
Dragonflies skid along the marshland
Which foams every shade of topaz
Ripples that make the water dance
As though the stream
Has something to laugh at.
I’m in the fisherman’s domain
Observing in the rain.
Grey shades which paints
A sombre background
For the barges rage
Making its presence known
Nature dapples the banks
Painting it every shade of summer lax
And vivacious fuchsias
A symphony of rustles in the wind
And I’m caught on that breeze
Even if only momentarily.
There are no rules on how you interpret the themes we put out, simply grab a pen and get inspired! Our next theme is ‘Fantasy’. To get your work featured, send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or message Esther Kearney via Facebook.
Featured image courtesy of Georgia Butcher.
Article images courtesy of Lauren Winson, Sam Young, Holly Wilson, and Esther Kearney.