The Northern Lights
Beyond the grain-dryer barn, out past Durno, green wavering searchlights are sweeping slowly – a thin curtain in the ionosphere. I call and you come out too and we stand there. Almost a frost. Somewhere, one of the pheasants shifts on its night perch. There’s a rich smell of silage. Directly above us, if you stretch your neck back, the Milky Way, a great swath of outer spiral – all that time as light. Here the whole yard feels electrical, charged, a current running through us, through our sparse rare-earths. And a hint of that late summer smell from the field edges that were left uncut, our hands getting cold, tingling more when we touch, become some wider pole. Behind the propped-up gate there’s a fhooo from one of the bullocks blowing.
First published in Scintilla, Volume 18, Spring 2015
For Sewdhass Sadhu
You push your bike out day by day,
with cobbles in tied-on, metal pails,
a boulder balanced on the saddle,
you raise a trackway across the tidal silt,
build a rough shrine with dry-stone walls.
Today, there’s a jacaranda’d causeway
to the mandir with its two white domes,
scalloped windows facing the water,
around it, bleached prayer flags
up clusters of bamboo-poles.
No building can stop
or slow time,
but this, your one, seems to bind it all,
to hold the leaves drifting in along the shore,
the plovers probing round shucked oyster shells,
hold the half-sunk orange freighter on its side,
the oil platforms with their daytime flares –
the whole of this muddy calm gulf,
as far as the mountains in high cloud,
to the west, along the coast of Venezuela.
First published in “Feeding out the Rope”, Smiths Knoll, June 2015
Poems Recently Published
“Days Like This” published in The Rialto, 85, Spring 2016: https://www.therialto.co.uk/pages/
“Easter, Dollis Hill” published in Under the Radar, Issue 16. February 2016: http://ninearchespress.com/magazine.html
“After the Holiday” published in The North, Issue 54. Summer 2015: www.poetrybusiness.co.uk
“Morningfield” and “Auchenblae” published in The Interpreter’s House, Issue 59, June 2015: www.theinterpretershouse.com
“Change of Light”, “The Northern Lights”, “The Measuring” and “Among Beech Trees” published in Scintilla, Volume 18, Spring 2015: vaughanassociation.blogspot.co.uk