Routes by Sharon Phillips


Along the coast road, pheasant’s eye
narcissi peep beneath white swags
of blackthorn, there’s a limegreen fizz
of budding alexanders and you chug
along in fourth behind a soft drink lorry

which reminds you of the Corona man
who used to deliver pop at Christmas,
the scarlet, green and orange bottles
lined up in your grandparents’ kitchen,

vivid as the lights you saw on city streets
as you drove home the day you retired,
rerouted by your satnav down the roads
that formed your granfer’s postal round;

as you wait to overtake, you remember
the policeman who knocked on the door
on a day of bleached blue autumn skies
to say Granfer was dead, not long retired:

later your mum sent you down the shop
and you scuffed through ochre leaves
bright as the beach ahead of you now.
You see black seaweed float in the bay
and the hillside pale with last year’s grass.


Sharon started learning to write poems a few years ago, after she had retired from her career in education. Her poems have been published online and in print, and have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (2017) and the WoLF Poetry Competition (2019). Sharon won the Borderlines Poetry Competition in 2017 and was among the winners of the Poetry Society Members’ Competition in November 2018. She lives on the Isle of Portland, In Dorset.

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