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Frost

Hoar frost. Scalding our skins.
Think of the death camps
in winter. The barbed wire
brittle as briars. We thought
the lice might die,
we knew the potatoes
would be blighted.
You might wake
to find your bunk mate
perished, her fingers
frozen around her beads.
Though our minds flirt with fire
though our eyes are extinguished
I know the frost shall melt.
Even if we don’t.

Winter

After the rain
it shines
tumbled trees
are cleared
flood water recedes
my boots dry.
Leaving
a winter loveliness
frost on puddles
wind shields misted
the crunch of my boots
on ice.

Him

The wind messes the leaves
telling sweet little lies
the rain bawls boisterously,
turning to hail. Laundry
lies in the garden
scattered, soaked
he is sat in his fluffy slippers
chewing his pipe
watching the wood burn
not fazed by anything much.
Firelight falls across his newspaper
he doesn’t give a hoot about bad news
deaf to the shaking windowpanes,
warming his feet.

Silver

like the stars,
like the old rings
my grandmother wore,
like the treasures you keep
in your jewel box.
I once had a crucifix
it was old silver
it slipped off
one winter,
fragile as my faith.
I’ve never liked
displays of wealth
but I’d want to wear
silver sequins
brilliant like the night sky,
that paradigm of love.

Clouds

like meringues.
Or black galleons.
Or feathery angels.
They’re baffling puzzles
I should like to decipher.
They’ve more moods
than teenagers. Watch
then scud
or catch like sails
in the wind. They’ve majesty,
you can’t hold them. They
can rumble loud as discontented
dragons. I love them.

Elegy

She was always mournful
she liked to stew
over old wounds.
Once, laden with drink,
she wept at my school gates
it was wrenching
I cringed, hoping my friends
never saw. When I left home
she came to my workplace
with a blanket and duvet;
she’d thrown me out, was guilty,
I took the things, embarrassed.
Now she’s gone, I’m not ashamed
I pity how hard it was for her
to navigate the hours
before some drinks
would save her soul.

Alien

They are taller than us
they have sharper faces
and muscular bodies.
Their speech is foul
they’ve assembled their grammar
from clicks and grunts
I don’t trust their tongues.
They are smarter than us
which makes me worry
when they whisper together.
I get nervous
I call them names.
I shall be the first
to cut one down.
Before he gets me.

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