Monday 31 January 2022

Five Superb Poems by Mandy Beattie

 




                                                          ASLEEP-AWAKE

 

                 My eyelashes flutter and flatline crescent-moons on crests of cheeks 

                      behind iris-lids is sky inside a pearl-mussel a swirling ocean 

                swell pitching me deeper, deeper, deeper until I am skinless-skein 

              and silver umbilicus-ectoplasm from The Cup Bearer I track Ptolemy                 

            to waltz past stones of sleep to swoop and soar I am a Sky-Traveller 

      in a Starship The Plough’s my jib and I fly elbow to elbow with fluttering wings

                   I trail mountain folds, isobars, snow caps and seeds, air-swim  

                             over oceans and niblets of sand I am a wind-horse 

                  weaving among clusters of gypsophila with star-petals in my hair 

                   I shadow the Big Dipper to the North Star as I cartwheel around

                     The Northern Cross a giant harp strums my skinless-skein 

           and silver umbilicus-ectoplasm and I forward roll to Andromeda to foxtrot

            with El Morya and Merlin on a magic carpet through the maw

   of the Milky Way until fingers of light edge around bare bones and Saturn’s

          curtain rings and Orion's Belt is the launch-pad through the veil 

                  of thin-air when the the long and short hand siphons me back into bones

                            my heart the drum beat of a Shaman and alchemy 

                    as my bones uncurl and unfurl from its question mark — When 

                                            will it be, ‘As Above, So Below?’

 

Published in, The Haar, May 2021


 

THROUGH THE TURNSTILE 

BETWEEN TWO FIELDS

 

I shoogle through the turnstile between 

two fields of concrete and standing stones to roost 

on a stone pillar. Suck in clean 

breaths of hoarfrost. Puff up the bellows 

of my lung-bagpipes into haggis-balloons 

of wisteria blue. I hook them 

with threaded melon seeds around the hips 

of standing-stones - I anchor into them, morph 

into osmosis with soughs and stone

Twerk an ear as I hear a fiddle and a dulcimer 

of drums. A pop and a portal appears 

with a sassy fairy in a parma violet tulip hat

She upsy-daisy’s the balloons, clasps my palm 

and pulls me into a fairy ring. The octopus of balloons 

become a windmill of sycamore seeds yeasting 

us up and up and up

 

through the veil of thin air - I rub my eyes 

 

but I’m back perched on a standing stone 

at Achavanich dressed in a cerise ball gown and tiara 

of mountain coyote mint. A golden eagle feather floats 

down and down and down and drops 

melon seeds on my bubblegum-pink stomping boots

 

 

HERE MEETS THERE

 

In a moth-eaten sky-gansey a semi-detached house squats

a muted cream 

on the corner of two street’s

The bottle-green 

door looks to the east and the taxed south window is a cement canvas 

waiting for Banksy. Slate tiles are tipsy headstones 

in a skip-cemetery. New tiles a brood of rain speckled hens where 

ariel-antlers jive near a bevy of peat-puffing chimney pots in a pew 

of ochre, russet and toffee - 

Terracotta pots spout sprigs of parsley, fennel and dill. Seeds blown 

on chewy-wind seed in street-lochans - An air-besom mimics them 

into magic mirrors and a lamp post spotlights a woman 

in an obsidian 

trench coat. Her hair-curlicues plaster cochineal cheeks 

in gushel’s of rain and breath’s a wreath of cauliflower florets 

As goblin-grey 

closes in she ducks around pot-hole plant pots budding 

holy basil and bulbs of wild garlic


 

INSIDE THE KIST OF CAITHNESS

 

I AM 

The Land O’ The Cat’ 

scaling Scaraben’s clavicle 

under stone-wash blue and slate-grey sky

​​​​ ice came in Winter

​​mute swan over hummocks and water hollows

a plaid ribbon hand-fasting 

the Greylag Geese of Camster Cairns

their drystane dyke lichen a vine and ivy 

on Standing Stones at Achavanich 

and yellow blobs of Marsh Marigold 

​pirns’ of thread in ground-ganseys 

of Bog Sedge and String Sedge 

​among Kelpie’s in lochans 

and The Wee Folk on Fairies Hill 

playing Cat’s Cradle under a sea-glass sky 

of the Pentland Firth 

​​​ I AM

the mizzenmast in smoor-mist 

​​​ on the Whale Road 

​​​and whirling-dervish-winds

​​ on Drove Roads and Clearance 

Crofts stone aikles in salty-tears

in the shebang of sphagnum in the Flow Country

but the Selkie of St Trothan sees not 

Black Crowberries and Black Bog-rushes 

only Sundew and Dragon Fly under the North Star 

in The Land O’ The Cat’ 

‘Where I AM, You Are’

​​​ duck-egg blue ceiling on daffodils 

​​and yellow on the Broom 

​​ Aurora Borealis over stone rows 

each pleat and plaid of purple heather is I 

​​​​even after Muirburn 

​​​returning to the Heavenly Dancers

my ashes will fly with Golden Eagle and Green Shank 

birthing into the next cleat of peat 

​​ the pearl inside a seed pod

                                      

Published in, The Haar 01.06.21 

 

 

NEEPS & PUMPKINS ARE NOT JUST FOR HALLOWEEN 

 

You cut the gubbins from the maws of neeps and pumpkins. Gave them 

lobotomies, sliced slits and triangles into macabre masks 

and snuffed 

out their light

 

I prayed 

you dried pumpkin seeds for nibbles? Planted 

them in wild spaces, vegetable beds or greenhouses? Perhaps 

recycled on compost heaps? 

 

I prayed 

you mashed clapshot or added carrots, cinnamon and ginger to warm 

toddy-bones in soups or stews? Fed foxes

birds and rabbits or made pumpkin pie? 

 

I prayed 

 

you were a bit-green and used sugar beet eco bags. Didn’t post 

your neeps and pumpkins to dumps in plastic bin bags to swell and smell 

of methane and mould to add to ticking time-bombs. When 

 

I prayed 

on social media; implored you to feed animals with your unfostered 

neeps and pumpkins. It was fruitless 

with only nine likes, two shares and no hearts

 

I prayed 

that 17,000,000 UK pumpkins didn’t mutate into genetically modified 

effigies a dis-guise of your bairns trick or treat. What will 

Greta, Vanessa, Dominika, Mitzi and your ain say when 

they unearth the truth - that you 

could have 

lowered the thermometer and barometer of their planet 

and didn’t or did? 

 

I pray

 


 

Mandy Beattie’s poetry is a tapestry of stories & imagery rooted in people & place, often with an element of other-worldliness. Her poems have been published in: Wordpeace, Poets Republic, Dreich, Wee Dreich, The Haar, Purple Hermit, Wordgathering, The Clearance Collection, Spilling Cocoa with Martin Amis, Marble Poetry Broadsheet, Last Stanza Poetry Journal, Book Week Scotland & contributed to, The People’s Poem of Scotland.


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