Saturday 11 May 2024

Six Poems by Stephen Kingsnorth




 

Rime Frieze

 

No spray of blooms but icepick spikes

from plashy spray of lorry tyres,

such mudguard slush, wave paving wash

that’s laid out, splayed on, and through bush;

but bitter bite of frost filled air

holds dirt dense drips like puddled pig,

wrought iron, brittle, stalactice,

sprite dangle gems, shards winter ware.

 

It is best interplay by kerb,

that haulage thunder we beware,

light glitter bright, buds silver search,

by brown clouds vaped, exhausted fumes;

a rainbow spun in spangled rime,

from splattered gutter to the wind,

sprung spider’s web of glisten strings,

their chimes clang crack break as they play.

 

A trunk road with a treasure chest,

bridged rubber treading into slop,

that careless slapping, bubbled ooze

to shroud a shrub in lacewing shine;

grey tarmac stir seeds fruiting hedge,

from fund, fumes diesel, gracious vine,

for tree assaulted, stained with crud,

becomes the mode, hope, hang in there.

 

For we grow tired of wayward spume,

from rain that drains too full for spare,

as dashing, splashing, traffic comes,

that heavy plant, shift street to side;

it scatters swirling swaying plumes 

like lumber whales, spume passing though.

But given moment, still to share,

that spill transformed, bears witness, stare.

 

First posted on the Poet’s Wall, Poets with Parkinson’s, December 2023

 

 

Sum Flower

 

Agèd saint, facing east, prays,

sun-dried, bees, full pollen days,

from central disc, outer rays,

mystic maths laid, fulfilled blaze,

fruit in Fibonacci ways,

Fermat’s spiral interplays,

golden ratio displays,

anointing oil, final phase.

 

First published by Medusa’s Kitchen, August 2023

 

 

Harvesting The Grain

 

A treasure chest, still silver shine,

tools bright, though handles manicured

by leathered palms, patina years,

now pegged, clipped, hung in craftsman’s den;

from blade, spokeshave, to chisel grooved,

for furrow hew or plane and lathe,        

this vice clamp locks the sacred space,

that horde where bored cannot be found,

the artisan’s trove, unmoved, set square.

 

Paraphernalia screwed down,

with awls and all to punch their weight

through hide where seek the buckle bite -

this is the workshop for the grate,

sandpaper gauge to be applied.

Here sons ply wood with hammered nails -

learn cursed shrieks where thumbs intervene -

learn feel for trees by timber yards,

a metric for their carpentry.

 

As lads run rings and harvest grain,

know knots, as buff what can be done,

they learn to work with, journeymen,

and not to fight relationship,

mortise and tenon joined as one.

Bemoan claimed signs of fading skills,

but while there’s canopy, concern,

that bole of life outgrows the stump,

those trees present salvation yet.

 

First published by Poetry Potion, November 2023

 

 

Hoodwink

 

No nudge or wink is needed dear -

we know this suspect from the news;

dark passage, poorly lit, night hawk,

no site for self-respecting soul.

With silhouette identikit

unknown if coming, going, here,

blank face or hair behind black mask;

he’ll not be caught, face punishment,

have bars to limit where he walks,

no jail, nor walk the plank, just bail -

assume this hoodywinking male -

so typical of youth today.

A threat to our suburbia -

an enemy of state, that’s clear.

 

This river pier with tidal reach,

by current waves, sad moods awash,

grim space where jumpers soon conclude,

has light, illuminating route.

As volunteer, despite her Dad -

who left do-gooding well alone -

she was returning from the club,

Down’s syndrome hour on Friday nights.

A chilly evening, homeward found -

why the warm hoody round her ears.

Had it been a fur collar turned,

a college scarf about her mouth

or covid mask tied round her ears,

the label would not be applied.

 

First published by Spillwords, July 2021

 

 

Gun Slinging at Ten

 

It was the winter ‘63

that I found, under thaw, a gun,

as ending, schoolboy trek for home.

The lesson had been clearly taught,

from posters, post-war infancy,

if metal object, armament

was seen, then not to lift it up.

So wise, and in obedience trained,

I shuffled toes and nudged it light,

dislodged the barrel from the snow,

through the ice, and down the road.

I kicked it, sliding, trigger ice;

so through the gate and up the path,

and there it lay beneath the step.

To age of ten, deadly design

not in my range, experience.

But comics full of biff and bam,

grenades armed, lobbed in fantasy,

lopped bits hidden in the print,

published, raking in the cash.  

War tales spin out on a limb;

nothing good comes from this trade,

war toys for civilians,

minefields for men’s armoury,

when boys should fix on Minecraft ploys.

I knocked, my mother, shocked at sight,

the gleam that raiders chucked about,

my pride that I’d not lifted it,

but followed rule that adults gave,

right to the letter, as been said.

 

First published by Academy of the Heart and Mind, November 2021

 

 

Dolmen

 

Small corner of my little world

where moors roll, slow-tectonic screwed,

the next just like the one before

except for megalith here pitched.

Not stone circle, henge or ditch,

but dolmen for some passing rich

in wisdom, leadership and wind,

more stolid than the wrapping clouds.

And here it stands, rock resting nest,

a granite witness for the land,

chronos and Kairos hand in hand,

suggestive how we model plans.

 

First published by Allegro, June 2020





Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces curated and published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including Lothlorien Poetry Journal.  He has, like so many, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.  His blog is at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com

 

  

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