A Spring poem

While sorting searching my bookshelves last night I came across a copy of Gopagilla,my 2012 pamphlet published by Crystal Clear. 


Flicking through I found several poems which had not gone into The Sun Bathers, not because I didn’t like them or because I didn’t think them good enough, but because I didn’t want too much repetition. I wanted to have a balance of new poems and poems from the pamphlet in the full collection.

It was strange to see the work I’d left out of the book. Although it’s only two years since publication of the pamphlet it seems longer, and since I generally read new poems or poems from last year’s book, I had almost forgotten the poem that I’ve written out below.

As well as this poem being in Gopagilla, I had at some point given it the title of ‘Prelude’ and used it as the opening in a sequence devoted to Wilfred Owen. The sequence was of pamphlet length and called Witness. For various reasons I  abandoned that project, and the only published poems from it are ‘Last Letter’ which you can read on the ‘Poems’ page of this site and in The Sun Bathers’ and this poem which I’m sharing here under its original title.

 Wessex Wood

 A perfect diversion, to leave the lane and step
under this canopy, to follow the stream
and find bluebells, scroll-headed ferns,
yellow primrose at the mossy roots of trees;

then a sudden stench, and here, a Fox
some days dead, coat slackened, eye sockets
picked clean; death has come to steal a breath
from the mouth of spring.

One comment

  1. One fine spring day some childhood friends and I were out walking in the countryside
    (we lived there, you see)
    when we noticed a makeshift sign nailed to a tree on the other side of the field.
    Wondering what it was we wandered over to see.
    After all, there were no other words for miles around.
    “DEAD DOG IN DITCH” it said.
    Exclamation mark, exclamation mark, exclamation.
    And it was right. An Alsatian or something
    dead but alive because
    wriggling with maggots.
    ‘How vile,’ I thought.
    ‘How viler still that somebody should draw our attention to it.’
    But my friend said No,
    somebody might be looking for it.
    The people who wrote the sign were being useful.


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