Photo by Justin DeRosa Copyright 2010
Coppice Wood: Spring
You scale barbed wire above the tired mill race.
A living monument to thrifty times,
gnarled stumps have bolted, arms rainforest-high.
You slalom down, amazed by what you find.
The smell is heaven-sent, heady incense,
an all pervading haze of virgin blue.
Spellbound at first, Children of Fatima
fast-tracked in school, recall that frayed pub sign,
a house these days. You’ll pick some, sneak them home.
Spring tide at flood, recedes too soon you’ll find,
leaving no trace; soft focussed filigree,
pure azure sea, as viewed through frosting glass.
They bow their heads, as nuns at prayer. Furtive,
you pinch more than one arm can clutch. Once plucked,
each flower a single tear, your sleeves are drenched.
Back home, hands tacky from the wounding sap,
Mum is distraught. “You should have left them there.
They just don’t travel, that’s the truth; can’t last.”
You’ve gleaned that fact. The petals sag as though
they’ve lost all will, their beauty turned to slush,
unspeakable. You’re scared it won’t wash off.
By Peter Branson
Peter Branson has been published by journals in Britain, USA, Canada, EIRE, Australia and New Zealand, including Acumen, Ambit, Envoi, Magma, The London Magazine, Iota, Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Nottingham, Pulsar, Red Ink, The Recusant, South, The New Writer, Crannog, Raintown Review, The Able Muse and Other Poetry. His first collection, The Accidental Tourist, was published in May 2008. A second collection was published at the beginning of this year by Caparison Press for ‘The Recusant’. A third collection has been accepted for publication by Salmon Press, EIRE.