You’ve wheedled your way back in again haven’t you
like storm silt, coarse as Herdwick (and almost as old)
from the pile of linen bound for recycle on the landing.
Each time I pass I fold you like a lover’s jumper determined
to let you go – for someone else to hold, entrench new memories.
I squeeze the heavy weave and read again
the white and red hand-stitched label – a name
ricochets distant fields, comrades, mud-swamped
their night blood un-rationed to these dark threads
but I only guess at this. I know my father carried you home
to keep me safe from winters, and I smuggled you out in summers
to lie under pines held in the palm of a brilliant sky.
Into the starless vacuum of black plastic I stare, now wondering
why instead I wanted to buy a fluffy synthetic bed-cover
that weighs nothing in the scheme of things.
1st Prize – Grey Hen Comp. 2015
This morning’s sky steers me back
like a boat to harbour, a summer
of rain, board games boxed in.
I hunker down under makeshift sails,
weave a trail of long necked birds
beating yellow wings loud as waves.
Arrows inch to a musty tangle –
tweed jackets, stiff shirts, wood smoke,
brooched lapels, buttons clear as the bay.
A clock ticks, chimes four
wakes the hall tired as walking sticks –
a jetty where Granny scrubs blue china
with soap suds made from thinned pink bars
stuck together in a white sink. On a cliff top
moustached men and women in black hats
murmur a turning tide. I’m stranded
in mud-brown moquette counting
wishing my sister was only hiding.
Published in Ver Poet’s Anthology 2015
Kerry Darbishire was a songwriter in the 1980s (covers with Elkie Brooks and Hazel Dean) and now writes poems. She grew up in the Lake District and continues to live in a remote area of Cumbria. Since her mentorship with Judy Brown, the poet in residence at the Wordsworth Trust in 2013, her poems have appeared in anthologies, magazines and she has won several competition prizes. Her first full poetry collection, ‘A Lift of Wings’ was published in November 2014 by Indigo Dreams Publishing, and her biography ‘Kay’s Ark’ published in September 2016 by Handstand Press. http://www.handstandpress.net She is currently working on a second collection of poems.