Derrick Buttress

Derrick Buttress: Featured Poet

Reading The Weather

The auspices are uncertain,
rain threatens in the east –
a bit black over Bill’s mother’s
as they say in these parts –
although sunlight creeps in
from the west in spite
of the banks of cloud.

We can take nothing for granted here
even the seasons have stalled,
the summer’s swifts still circling the house,
the annuals reluctant to fade –
picnics in October, and thickening grass.

We forget the earth is alive beneath our feet,
will not die or even rest
according to the clocks we make.
Prediction is a lost art.

Put two and two together
and we get nothing but conjecture, at best,
the chance that chaos
was all the time the answer.

Although there’s always hope,
like seeing the rain, drifting now
from the east, falling on Bill’s mother’s
as we guessed it would.

Published in ‘Destinations’, Shoestring Press, 2009


Derrick Buttress was born in Nottingham in 1932. After many years in industry he read English at York University. His poems have been published widely in magazines, including Magma, Ambit, The Interpreter’s House and Iota. Two television plays were produced by BBC 2 and several radio plays were broadcast by BBC Radio 4. His poetry collections are: Waiting For the Invasion (Shoestring) 2002; My Life As A Minor Character (Shoestring) 2005; Destinations (Shoestring 2009). A Memoir, Broxtowe Boy was published in 2004, also by Shoestring. Its sequel, Music While You Work, was published by Shoestring Press in 2007.