Artwork: Jenny Mielihove
On the shortest day, I walk, reading the birds
Starlings massed on black trees
are hieroglyphs telling the loss of the sun
clatters from chaos of brambles
warning signs written in sharp tongues
High, dense clouds –
a lower-case lesson in how grey
stays always the same,
sky’s flat repetition
of its periodic sentence
Lanes are books of choices –
chapters can’t be re-read
with the knowledge of crossroads yet to come
specialist subject is killing –
he’s rehearsing bullet point answers to vole
Pheasants illuminate the fields –
too many colours on one page
tales of beauty, vulnerable
Some instruction surprises the starlings –
they spill from scratched branches
like burning paper, fall on the sky
There’s nothing to read in these lanes
but birds – puddles are clear glass
I am unwritten
On the longest night
moon rises in a curtainless window –
my wordless index of days.
from Many Waters (fal 2006)
Victoria Field is a writer and poetry therapist now based in Canterbury after twelve years in Cornwall. Her latest poetry collection, The Lost Boys was published by Waterloo Press in November 2013 and she is currently at work on a new play, BENSON, to be showcased at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury in April 2014. She offers training and workshops in the therapeutic use of creative reading and writing, including teaching regularly at Ty Newydd, the National Writers Centre for Wales: http://www.literaturewales.org/ty-newydd/ She blogs at www.poetrytherapynews.wordpress.com
Artwork: Fabian Arts
the language of cold
35° below zero Banff Alberta
Air stands above each chimney
like a battalion of frozen warriors
like libraries of Confucian scrolls
inscribed at the top of the world
by monks whose scratchy pens
sculpt icicles in the thin air
the trees of the forest hold to their long silence
into words without sound
lungs heave and sigh
trying to pull something anything
back from chasms of pain
cold wants to force itself on us
pushes ribs apart
bulks in nostrils tugs at eyelashes
crusts any shred of skin it finds exposed
as it sings of frostbite lost fingers and toes
disfigured faces as it invades mittens
creeps unstoppably into boots
Step up step up dear friends!
cold lifts you to the impossible
offers Bigfoot snow queens ice spirits
You must say to your body
Heart be strong! Feet! do not leave me!
no part of you is headed for nature’s dustbin
we WILL be reunited
…………you must believe this …
Caroline Carver is a poet and promoter of poetry and poetry events, especially in Cornwall. She started her conscious life in Bermuda and Jamaica, came back to school in England, and then moved to Canada. She now lives in Cornwall, rummaging through the memory bank as she writes. She’s a National Prize winner, poet-in-residence at Trebah Gardens, a Hawthornden Fellow, and has published three poetry collections. See more of her work here. Most recently she has been Poet-in-residence at Plymouth Univeristy.
Artwork: Franz Marc
No one knows my name.
It is hidden deep
within the seed that spoke of me.
I can reveal the bright wind, wide skies
and be of the lemon Sun –
Winter will strengthen these petals
and make feisty my stem.
I will rise my head to the stars
in these long still nights.
Yet close to the ground, I remain-
in becoming of my name
for this is destiny.
Born to be incandescent
in my inward, beautiful way.
Carolina Read works as a specialist Physiotherapist in learning disability in the NHS. She integrates many healing streams of influence into her work and life, from where she finds her passion for words and their meaning arises. Her greatest love is of the language that lives in all Nature, beyond our understanding and marvel.