When the Garden Is Mostly BluebellsThis silence that opens in the cowslip beside the lawn I have so noisily mown will linger where it is found. I rake grass, bend and grab handfuls, tip them into a bin-bag, savour the aroma, clean blades, coil the cable, glance again at the flower, tug out weeds until, jobs done, I close the door on sunlight, sit and slouch with dirty nails, green-stained fingers, gulp down lemonade and rest but tonight when lit windows spread light on the garden I’ll step outside again, stand at the border then kneel, touch its petals. There’ll be no scent, little colour, only the slightest tremble in an unnoticed breeze and still silence.
Introducing the Stare of a Retired Tees-Sider as Autumn Is Seen on the Wirral
with middle-aged men on the earliest train from Middlesbrough to Newcastle
past sunlit early morning leaves, blotches gaudy as a painter’s fingernails.
Here, only one or two trendsetting trees show the others it’s autumn –
though schoolgirls, heads lowered beside bulging bags, are uniformly silent,
still breaking in new shoes that will soon furrow through their fallen hush –
while she sees a small child pushed in a buggy who holds a sweet chestnut
and stares as warm fingers interlock around its freshly opened brightness.
like a knot in a gaudy ribbon
which you hardly noticed as you dried your hair
naked by the window then brushed it
as I marvelled at the silence
undisturbed by the whirr of the hair-dryer,
then lifting your coffee mug which steamed the mirror,
and the loosening sun, the way you looked,
then looked at yourself before looking at me,
took all these years to reach me
and untie memory, and write this down.