Tuesday 4 October 2022

Five Poems by Mandy Beattie


 


Raven Signpost

 

Snail-driving through a clutch of tiptoeing chickens, I skirt giant teacups of tar at the old coastguard station — Single track road a ribbon through scrap metal, pylons of trees stacked in cornrows, bodies. A carrot haired man and boy in a raspberry van stop at a passing place; watch seagulls fly in greylag geese symmetry in wave synchronicity above broody aqua-marine, petrol-grey, moss-green. I inch past the chocolate Labrador knee deep in dead daffodils, sea pinks, drowsy dandelions; collar gripped by a woman I know for seeing. We wave in the Highway Code of one car roads. For no reason I turn my head like a right-angle triangle; see a raven the size of an outgrown piglet — a gargoyle sat on a fence post staring into who knows when? I wonder what it’s doing here so out of place and not up West? Is the next S.O.S another type of passing place in June; similar to raven triplets in November? Is this messenger a signal to again gird hearts like nutmeg, walnuts? — This noble nutcracker waits with me and ticking hands against the wall.

 


                               Decoupage of Autumn

                                            In memory of, John Muir

       

                                              In this forest full of ring fingerprints

                           and peacock feather eyes

                                                          watching

                                         you clung fruit bats

                      on antler branches            

                                      under buttermilk sky —

                                                               A Midas-butterfly of leaves

                                    in a lava hoedown

                                                  onto earth’s clavicle, scapula. Each

                               leaf-palm miniature tree of life

                                                        in pepper-pink

                                        plum-magenta

                                                          mustard-mauve

                              coyote-brown. Watching

                                                         cornucopia-confetti float down —

                                  Alone in silence, without baggage

                                                               I pick a leaf-posy

                                  to fossil-frame, press

                                                                burnt-umber

                                                   ruby-russet

                                                                blue-spice

                                                 burnt-sienna in slices

                                                                  of rice paper to dry

                        in a sycamore kiln. Brushstrokes

                                                                 building glue-bricks in an autumn

                             mimic of organdie and lawn

                                                                          

  

 

John Muir — Alone in silence, without baggage

 

 

Leaving The Ark

 

Bubble of light

 

lengthens. Lark-dawn

becomes striated

 

stone as cataract

ebbs. Turnstile between

 

fields under needles

of backlash, whiplash

 

still starch. Snowdrop traffic

un-jams. Arthritic wood

 

ermined in slush

and snow invite

 

nest and chorus. Glass

becomes puddle

 

in allotment of parsley

green. Daffodil splash of

 

sun. Under sky

of spark and tinder, lambs

 

limb stalactites unfold

their chrysalis. Tractor

 

blades become arc

of swan's neck

 

 

Corvid’s Eye of Hag-stone

 

We recognise each other from when I was raven-over-seer but us became invisible, indivisible because we could take no more of seeing fast forward to what un-feelies would invoke, transpire; at tethers-end looking into mirrored balls, shrouded fog. Of seeing veils demist what was and yet to be and now it is again anew, as we mark time. Pinion feathers stilled with bated breath at bewigged tomfoolery, folderol, lollygagging folly as the earth fires, floods, famines, storms and all the ravens arrive to prophesise but still you twiddle thumbs, unloose forked tongues. Make widow’s peaks as oak weeps and owl heads swivel. Then will come three days of night. The eleventh month. The eleventh hour.

 

 

Stroma: A Leaving & Returning

 

The Boy James on the road over

flirts with the Pentland Firth

Escort of orca & humpback

 

whales are half-moons leaping

in white-tipped waves & fidgety

air. The Boy James bumps into

 

black tyres. Thick rope flung

hung loose-hipped round

its mooring bollard. Spilling

 

its embargo-cargo — Class of '61's

daughters & sons onto the quay

An auk's whaup heralds homecoming

 

through isosceles glass teeth

of the scarlet phone box

The black receiver a pendulum

 

in a Nor' Easter — But & ben's windows

the third eye on hiccoughing doors

& scalene cobwebs. Fallen-arches

 

& slate are sheep pens, runs for

hillocks of sharn & guano in

scunnered box-beds. In the tool

 

graveyard outside a window

a mangle sits in sunlight, its black

rust-iron handle a closed parentheses

 

A vintage of wheels of verdigris

& rust: cart, tractor, car; Stainless

Steel taps & soup spoons in whins

 

Buoys are soil-plugged

blood-grapefruits & radishes

sat beside a bleached beached

 

yole. Half-eaten stern folded

accordion pleats. The Boy James

unfurls; casts off in burnt orange

 

sunset, its petted lip a diptych

Harbour porpoises click & whistle

seals beach. On the road back

 

o   Yole — Traditional Stroma fishing vessel






Mandy Beattie frequently loses herself in poetry, books & imaginings. Pen, paper & words without borders are some of her favourite things. She has been published in poetry Journals such as: Lothlorien, Poets Republic, Dreich, Wordpeace, The Haar, Wordgathering, The Clearance Collection, Spilling Cocoa with Martin Amis, Last Stanza, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Visual Verse, Book Week Scotland. Winner of Poets Choice in Marble Poetry Broadsheet. Shortlisted in the Dreich Black Box Poetry Competition. She has a forthcoming poems in, Drawn To The Light, Spoonie Anthology & Journal, The Pen Points North & Crowstep & a short story in the inaugural edition of, Howl. She is soon to be featured poet with Lime Square Poets.

 


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