Sunday 15 May 2022

Three Poems by Bob Beagrie


The Forest at the Back of the Throat


Curl                 unfurl

a girl of ash paths



leaf-blown body


stalked by gen-


nations       notions

of implanted       fear


reach               strain

test the cliff behind

the cliff-face


spider race inside

the bone-house


balancing china

bowls like skulls


judder  stutter  putter

he plucks cobweb 

strings of a lyre


croaks for the thin wraiths

in the forest

behind the eyes


jaw stretch       lip   husk        

retch    rust    and reek

how do we

get used

           to this?




Filamental memoranda in the loam,

electrical burblings beneath tarmac,

pavement slabs and blue cobbles,

shielded from the bright morning.


What’s today’s mycelium gossip?

What are the trees complotting

in symbiotic secretions of sugar?


With hoar still coating grass blades,

bide time, don't break the crust,

the glaucous gull scours the river,

my shadow pools in the storm drain,


duramen heartwoods in dormancy

manufacture deities and demons,

and a painful truth lies at the root.



The warblings of wary ewes

watching us through slitted stares

from terraces of slate,

riddled with boltholes

to hidden warrens that run

to the hill's stilled core

a winding, cropped-grass scar

across the grizzled god's upper lip

gouged cheeks and brow

up to the crown of Scotch Pine

behind a fleece-rubbed dry-stone wall,

where rabbit vanishes through a gap

too small to follow so we climb

careful, over snug, well-placed rocks

to drop onto lush grass, well-held shade,

enclosed shelter with a cairn-child

marking the centre,


the moon rests here to sip its milk,

dribble light into Lune and Tees,

 we tread circles of faith to view

the settlement’s rough bark, leathers,


furs and bronze, patient tokens

lost to the barrow, Prince Rabbit

on the Ram's Horn Throne perched


as if he's carved from sandstone,

tunnel-bound beneath our toes,

hoarding centuries in each bulbous eye

like he's dreamed us here

to scaffold his edges

to stake out all

of his non-existent corners.

to haul the whole

of his depth from darkness.


[1] habere "to have, to hold, possess" (from PIE root *ghabh “to give or receive").

Bob Beagrie (PhD) lives in Middlesbrough. He has published numerous collections of poetry and several pamphlets, most recently: When We Wake We Think We’re Whalers from Eden (Stairwell Books 2021) And Then We Saw The Daughter of the Minotaur (The Black Light Engine Press 2020), Civil Insolencies (Smokestack 2019).  

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