By Stephen Kingsnorth

Resurrection

I hear praise, awe the redwoods win,
and oaks, withstood near battle scars,
but my gem, acorn, palmed, admired,
a prospect stored, squirrel ignored.
I see them bury, gnaw, forget,
a sapling fighting undergrowth,
then filtered light through canopy
calls for the greenman cambium.
And it finds how to rise again,
serves auxin to still living leaves,
that they may fall, dust vital shroud,
reincarnation in the wood,
more golden babies from the womb.

Cycle

These leaves of Appalachian spring,
composed delight in simple things,
will soon be brittle, blown web bits,
auxin ejects for dung beetles.
So why delight at death’s approach,
short pleasure of delight at hues;
are eyes so easily seduced,
chromatic obits writ so large?

As read leaves turned remain in book,
so autumn dress lays compost rug,
and life recycled brings new birth
because of worms, small creeping things.
So rise then die, emotions mix,
borne by the tides of season’s rings,
reminding marks in trunk through years;
the solid tree that grows to age.

Silent Sound

As silence brought Vermeer to light -
reflect screened film, pearl earring framed -
then darkness brings the nearer sound,
as blind hear touch and deaf see smell,
cacophony retired to bed.

A fox barks, shin scrape, blood drawn scuff, 
a softer pad, well-balanced weight,
nocturnal rustle, rodent creeps,
of street-wise doe, even clop hoof,
the haunt of wights, sleep human greed.

The owl, bank branch of concrete, steel,
spread wing spies iridescent paths,
of urban urine rat-run maze, 
the flowing Docklands gangland streams,
predictive hoot booked commonplace.

Nature’s red tooth and raw let loose,
safari hunt on veldt, steppe, scrub,
architecture, brutal design;
Mnemosyne stores memories,
as daylight sounds replayed in dreams.

Drainage deltas and run-off rills,
web swales, graffiti moonlight sprays,
a jungle spread, wade gutter, snipes;
dark tails, V sign trails, city wakes -
remember lost, yet celebrate.

Eye

The level view of bird’s eye, still,
as flat-out fulmars fight the wind,
against the dimpled hinterland,
estuary lunar with the stream.

Sat by the fall of precipice,
lounged, folded in both body, eye,
beneath my level, bird of prey,
brown plumage green, preparing stoop.

That I should eye-to-eye hold wings,
unnatural, except that gale
had brought a level crossing point,
lashes feathered, I blinked, they not.

Succulent

Succulent serves juice as word, 
sweet taste and sound of sucking lent,
such contrast to its desert, parched,
yet tank, its cistern, reservoir,
and spikes, protection for the sap.

A bud of pink is promise red,
a hint, tinge bloom, embarrassed blush,
some rarity in public realm,
exposure soon for common weal,
example, global greenhouse style.

If only earth was splashed same way,
with water aid beneath the soil,
its moisture trapped, tap needing route -
but well provided, boring tale
for those whose thirst is satisfied.

Prim rose

Hyperbole, diva, prima,
was never trait for peeping glow,
declining formal, sparkling low.
Like cowslips, settled, nestled grass,
blade shade, in banks thrive, drop pearl dew,
amongst hard graveside marble lines,
sneak out in bunches, butter-milk.

Prim pastel, shy in place, breakthrough,
short-stalked packed floppers, shower spread.

Ready bunched, satisfied to stay
half-hid, flourishing, without need
to be, with flourish, presented
on knee; better, leg bent, the sight
in site to gain, blush cream the bloom,
pale brave-face rose, the primrose hue.

Growing Patch

For years it was a briar patch,
the spittoon for my tar babies
where dog-ends crouched and mucked about,
a wasteland, harsh for lions’ teeth,
few tattered rugs for undergrowth,
a two-piece suite though downside-up,
no longer fire-resistant kite
flying as passers tipped more dump.

Deep roots beneath the mats required,
agent orange or napalm spray
from TV dinners, Nam and eggs;
but then despite my settled view,
like greenstick-fractured sapling torn,
my seasoned outlook snapped in two,
algebra working in my bones,
now marrow spreading, open flowered.
 
New groundwork digging in my mind - 
a landscape under my control,
working not against, with the clay,
the carpets floored a compost heap.
I burned brambles, skipped furniture, 
nightshade cleared from the deadly dock,
laid grass where the couch had strayed, 
from mattress rot, created beds.
 
Now creepers climb where nettles rashed,
an arbour necklaced jasmine gems,
prim roses replace trailing dogs;
the paving crazed, thyme on its stones
the garden broom flings seeds about - 
while honeysuckled by the bees. 
Herbaceous fills the spacious soil - 
I put flags out to celebrate.

Honesty

Is this the money tree they speak,
my honesty, a coin mint,
its seeding after petal death,
the purple phase in woodland haze?

The ancients knew the plants to heal,
medicaments, found mendicants,
which with the balsam, friar’s brew,
found images, the stuff of life.

Full open lids, releasing sites
to play with fruitful memories,
fresh buds provide palette to show
how art is framed from common wheal.

So peer at slabs, buddleia break,
know secret seeds, extinction’s flow,
resilience where earth thought bare,
erupting birth where death had dared.

Naivety

Why does the earth not seem to know,
be unaware of wailing crop,
tsunami swept our norms awry,
the heaving gasp, their lonely death,
infection grip within the lungs?
For here, because untrodden path,
where seed has fallen, passed by bird,
a buddleia has taken root
and butterflies swarm over mauve
and tap exotic cling of scent.
They were not told, they had not heard
that winter life was put on hold,
that clock had locked on Covid call.
In ignorance, naivety,
they still find nectar, as they will. 

Multi-Storey Garden

Leaving the wheels,
the multi-storey park I want
is strewn with fuchsia pheromones
pulled unscene, 
pulsating from petals, ferny fronds 
swimming through 
exhausted fumes. 

Brutal blocks bud buddleia, 
cracked concrete blooms, 
to engage 
wings wearing butterflies. 

I see barriers built 
of bluebells and begonias, 
rubber squeals cry out as driving by
cement studded with crocus 
then cyclamen, chrysanthemums.

Gardenia-garlanded girders surmount
hydrangeas around hydrant taps;
blaring rage ignores
the rusting asps, scent-swaying spray, 
as honeysuckle hangs.

My bumper brushes by
down-drainpipes decorated with
earwigging dahlias, 
as horn daffodils scrape.

I search the
surface slabs which sprout salvias, 
peer signage encircled searching stems,
supplanted now by sweet pea rows.

Cramped corners, alba kingcup-crowned
hide from rose-riot ramps 
rising to rooftop, and 
rhododendrons like a Sino hill. 
 
My tyres rustle lupin pots
as I come to rest in straight 
lines painted with love-in-the-mist.

Lavatera lifts pass between 
the compost heap and potting shed.

Her chores complete, herbaceous calls,
so I drive through the auric shower,
tagetes round-trailing ticket machine.

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), born in London, but retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, most recently The Sweetycat Press, The Parliament Literary Magazine, Poetry Potion, Grand Little Things, The Poet Magazine, Stone Poetry Journal. 

8 thoughts on “Resurrection and Other Poems

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s