No 2 - November 2001
Kneeling Over The Pool
When you wanted to hike to the headwater
I never imagined the heat.
I quick-marched along the trail out of the valley,
Jabbering in my usual way about vasty glaciers and the view.
You shouted bear warnings.
Fell back and were silent in between.
At the base of the falls I danced a jig
Across its little patch of slick, forgetting
I would forget this on the climb.
I remember you filling our bottles and looking down.
That mountain summer, air clotted with growing,
The chill core of the headwall limp and thin on the stone,
The thick fingered, ungloved hands of the sun
I didn’t know how to accept as we arched into the heat.
But you bowed your back to it
Even as the hot height leaned over us,
You coughed dully and drove me bewildered
Through the dry violence of the scree chalk.
You and your trudge intent into the face of it,
Cranking your tall frame along the frown lines.
The mountain caked me with fur that choked,
My guts bristled, lump-filled shot bags loaded
Brimful and impregnable to my normal senses.
In my belly I was aware of a switchback
Scrabbling down against us, whispering
About the soft mouthed valley waiting below.
Somehow you had fathomed the headwater at a distance
And ignored the gravel pelting itself into your nerve streams.
Forgot how this stone knuckle drained us,
Your will boring us to the surface
Until you had deciphered all the twisty scrawl
And pushed us both cindered onto the crop.
We crossed the heat-plaque in a ghost dream.
You shimmered and drifted weakly toward the water.
When the first slivers of spray touched my hair
You were already peering into the pool.
Those outriders unstitched my dusty coat
With what you must have heard in the valley
And we escaped our burning heads
Down into the water,
Something sleepy in the well
Streaming from our ears and noses,
Stone handed and mossy mouthed,
Clear again, cold again, not bad.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The