Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Four Wonderful Poems by Phil Wood


There's a lone hawthorn in the farmer's field

It keeps the witches at bay.
No furrowed farmer's brow,
he's ploughing the richest earth.
Crows eye, but stay away.

His cows are calving, proud
with milk. His hens lay eggs
at ease, all safe from foxes,
for word has got around.

The village priest was deaf
to old wives tales. His blood
enflamed so lustful hot
he lost his cross. He left

a love expecting too.
A daughter is her wish.
She's birthed two farmer's sons,
and knows wishes do come true.


The hill's called the Skirrid.
These are borderlands.
People own their words. Outsiders call
it Wenglish, corrected in school,
learnt at home with fireside myth.
The hill's misshaped in anger, a tempest
on the day of the crucifixion!
Farmers take its soil for fertile fields.
They need a myth, not lessons
about land falls in the ice age. Legends
root, but the Devil's Table
tale no local will tell.


Camping last night,
the keening wind
through the valley,
threaded my dream.

Early morning,
runes of red light
beaded the stack
of silent pine.

And now this ink,
crows in flight,
a scrawl of caw
script portents.

And then the quiet
prowling its slow claw.
No bird perched
tree-proud. No song.

My labrador barks
at something. I hear
myself muttering
a childhood chant.

Nonsense you say.
Logging happens.
Birds are just birds.
We're not actors.


The outcast

finds a calcite cobble smoothed
by the slow flow of a glacier.
With flint hardness she sculpts
the coupling - clenched to him
as fierce as a fist. Witness
their defiance: the thaw
of him, her warmth shared
for eleven thousand years
- the Ain Sakhri lovers.

Phil Wood was born in Wales. He has worked in statistics, education, shipping, and a biscuit factory. His writing can be found in various publications, including: Fevers of the Mind, Snakeskin Poetry, Clementine Unbound, Miller's Pond, Allegro.


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