Poems (or “pomes”, as my lovely English teaching friend Marilyn Mary Mack call them) have been thin on the ground this year. This suggests that I just find them lying around like a gorgeously speckled pebble or a perfectly patinaed conker and, in a way, I do. My poems grow in different ways but they all start as found things; found words, found smells, found moments and so on. The tricky part is finding the time to grow them. That sort of very focused and purposeful time’s been thin on the ground this year. My excuse is my shiny new marriage, not a bad one.
So this is an old poem. Very old. In fact, looking at it again there are loads of things I could be tempted to change. Kevin assures me one day he’s going to edit all my stuff and then Faber & Faber will publish it a beautifully typeset and ravishingly covered edition… we’ll see. In the meantime, a poem for Bonfire Night from way back in 1998:
THE NIGHT GARDEN
Guy grows sky chrysanthemums.
Fawkes’ fireflowers flash gilt on ebony,
strange night grass is dipped in ink
and trampled by the feet of upturned faces.
The last brave yellow rose
stands dirty in the darkness – a wallflower.
In cracks between the slabs of jet
rockets are delphiniums,
whistling sunflowers spin at their posts
and snowdrops sparkle between your fingers.
Beneath a screaming peony
wreaths pf shifting sulphur curl around your feet.
A moon-bright meadow in traffic-light colours,
poppies paint brick red and
spew seed stars from blackened hearts,
ultraviolets make a move of the ground.
Give wings to the stargazer,
as the brief and rootless velvet sends her petals down.