Here are some poems from the August Stoke Stanza at The Leopard, 16 August 2011.
All poems remain the copyright of the authors and must not be reproduced without prior permission.
THE BLOOD EAGLE
Thanks to The Observer Book of Birds
You’re dressed, first light, before the rest have stirred,
the only one alive on whispering sands,
except some way-off bloke along the bay,
beside his telescope, out with the tide.
“A sea eagle.” Asked if you want a look,
you can’t say no, make out an upright shape
at least a mile away across the bar.
You know he’s right. You’ve learned it in your book.
Same postage-stamp, iconic stance, you say
they’ve long died out. “A wanderer,” he smiles,
“from Scandinavia.” The statue stirs;
winged sail, red shepherd sky, dawn sacrifice.
Can’t wait to tell them at the boarding house.
Defying gravity, first bouncing bomb
then low-slung Lancaster, you watch it till
there’s nothing left to see, time in reverse.
Horned devils armed with broadsword, axe and spear
spew from the dragon’s mouth, as quiet as wraiths.
With famished rabid strides they make high ground
before church bells cry foul, whole town asleep.
Less anger than relief, strange men a straight
red card, they’re on your case. Lips sealed, you sound
silent retreat, trail tears of cupboard grief.
Tongue-tied, hot beans to spill, you rage inside.
Nothing’s in the right place here.
I thought I knew where I was
but the bright mornings catch me out
start me off on the wrong foot.
The cockcrow echoes in corners,
stalking me in straight rooms.
A vivid light stripes my floor
as dark follows white; squinting
across each knot on these oaken boards
clawing forward to trap my silhouette.
The glare shrinks and night
slinks in the back door.
Inside, a pulse blinks and sighs,
yawns fracture and crack in the blackness.
I wait squat eyed for the next day
In Eddie Stobart’s world
burnished by moonlight,
dandelion clocks picked out
by headlamps’ glare
return to shadow,
parachutes ticking to
Cats’ eyes gleam
in red and green
Night brims with
juggernauts in convoy
tied to timetables.
While M6 dandelions
sink taproots, gild verges,
tempt insects, transform
flowers to seed heads;
until, on wind-chime day,
their umbrellas break away,
drift the air, land, begin to grow.
If you’re blessed with a boot scraper fixed to your wall,
then use it
or at least wipe your shoes on a stone.
Better still take them off
and walk barefoot inside.
Treat your house as sacred,
a place apart.
When visitors call, check their credentials
and err on the side of caution.
As for guests, have their bags ready packed
so if they tipsy stumble or profane,
you quickly call a cab and usher them away.
And make within your house a private space,
a holy of holies,
clear out the clutter,
set a chair for you alone,
the window with a view to the mountains
leave it open,
turn the key
and let sunlight touch your tinder soul
until, like flame lit from flame,
you glow in your own right.
EXISTING IN OUR WORLD
Why is it that the world is round?
Why is there gravity to pull us to the ground?
We know that it’s there although it doesn’t make a sound,
It’s not like the bark of a fierce blood hound.
Were on the run like the fox when we here the toot of the horn,
People on the move all day from the break of dawn,
We look out on life around us after the curtains are drawn,
We even contemplate why we were born.
You get what you make and you make what you get,
Some of us are just trying to forget,
Others wait for on your marks, get set,
We are only human; being is what we do,
To exist in our world and make our mark on it too,
We must use our ambition, and we will then make it through.