The goosepen – Michael Shann


The goosepen

Where the forest narrows to a child’s call
and rubs its flank against St Peter’s churchyard,
I’d hoist you above a father’s fear
and post you into the oak’s dark hollow.

You entered that small woody cave like
you’d lift the door in a pop-up fable,
wide-eyed and hesitant, holding yourself in
until you turned towards me and the sunlight,

then happily scared again when I half-
circled the huge trunk and left you high
among the leaves in your own goosepen,
with only your heart and all that birdsong.

And when I asked Do you trust me?
you knew it was time to close your eyes
and put your hands by your sides,
to feel the still, dreadful moment,
then fall like timber into that nothingness
where I’d always be with arms outstretched.



Originally from Yorkshire, I’ve lived in London since 1998 and am a member of the Forest Poets Stanza in Walthamstow. I’ve had three collections of poetry published by the Paekakariki Press: Euphrasy (2012), Walthamstow (2015) and To London (2017). I work for the charity Carers UK where I have coordinated an annual creative writing and photography competition.

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