Terra Secreta

This land guards old bones.


loosely shaped

puppy-folded, creased,

tucked in with moss so no chalk scar

can draw the eye,

the landscape holds its secrets.

Conspiracies of brambles

knit and weave

stitch and chain

the thick lianas of wild clematis and eglantine.

Sleeping-Beauty thorns

embroider a soft cloak

mist gathers in the lanes

and bostals slide like vipers under bugloss scrub.


Tumuli crouch half-hidden in these fields.

This land guards old bones.


Here in the persimmon garden

I am eating a persimmon

sucking its fibres

drinking the south.


I have tasted fresh almonds

grapes off the vine, cupped

furry quinces heavy in my hand

tested lemons against my cheek.


I have eaten a persimmon

taken the fruit too soon, trespassed

on its due season, for it becomes sweet

only when softened by frost.


I am without entitlement

to this warm kingdom.

Her Plait


I talk to you softly

brushing your hair

your wonderful hair

stroke after stroke

till it falls like a fan

spread wide on your back.


The weight of it


shiny as conkers spilt  from the case

(hellebore green, hellebore white)

new to the light.


Now I divide it

fold it and fold it

under and over

three-ply-strong as a spell.


And when in the evening I loosen your plait

it will fall into ripples

stream over pebbles

seal-slippery weasel-wild

a force of nature.

My joy, my pride.

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