where every hour
a thousand purposes
collide and split away.
Yet some moments linger,
hover in shifting light
among the trees,
settle in the pavement cracks.
That weeping ash
taller than rooftops
grew from graves,
its slow roots stabbing down
between the tombstones,
piercing eye sockets and yellowed bones,
and sucking nourishment from
the clammy loam.
Graveyards beg a church
and one stood here,
where tourists take selfies, lick ice creams
and children stamp their feet
to scare the birds.
Crammed between the slaughtering yards,
the butchers’ shops and narrow alleyways
an ungainly barn, all awkward angles,
a stumpy tower.
The Church of Christ the King
The saints in their proper seasons:
Advent, Christmas, Lent and Corpus Christi,
each celebrated with prayer and candles
and ashes on good Friday.
And sinners had their moment too
where every day was different
and every day the same:
sprinkling at the font,
rings before the altar,
corpses by an open grave.
All kept in proper fashion
and all this for eight hundred years.
Now jugglers mark their sacred space with rope
where blood and incense once hung in the air
and where our forbears bowed their heads in prayer
a bunch of skinny kids are smoking dope.
Picked too early, you will find they’re
Leave it late
and there’ll be nothing left
but wasp-drilled carcasses
Choose the moment.
A cool September evening seems right –
shifting sunlight and the pears
jade green and flecked with raindrops.
Cup one in your hand
and twist – you’ll hear a click –
the branch flicks back –
you feel the full weight
in your palm.
Like people, pears bruise easily.
Don’t crowd them. Half a dozen
in each bowl is company enough.
Leave them for a day or two
to ripen in the sun
then take a bite –
taste the gush of scented juice
upon your tongue –
that flesh as sweet as summer,
white as snow.
Ian Stuart is a writer/performer living in York. His first collection Quantum Theory for Cats was published recently by Valley Press. When not writing poetry, he will either be telling ghost stories to visitors or walking the dog.