Poem of the day

A Tune for Dave Smith

by Maura Dooley

4 April

Now the Swift Spring

by Philip Oakes

Now the swift spring makes our bed uneasy

and bruised earth scents the evening ; 

flowers walk beneath the pavements 

shaking the city and the street 

standards have put out leaves.

 

The white shoot leans to the light

and the moth courts the weeping candle ; 

neighbours are lovers and

the statues discover syllables

to release their tongues.

 

Later we may remember

a little of their language when

another spring frees the fountain,

but between the seasons lies

the death of flowers, the winter and a bed 

cold with the lack of love.

 

3 April

Household

by Henry Shukman

The tons of brick and stone, the yards of piping,

the sinks and china basins, three toilets, the tiles,

and the tons of wood in floors, chairs, tables,

the yards of flex and cable that wrap the house

like a net, the heavy glassed front door, the gate

onto the street, the rippled sheets of window,

the yew tree by the back, the pictures, books, piano:

what would it all weigh? One kiss, one breathed

declaration, and there it is: the mass of love.

 

2 April

Tree

by Jean Sprackland

Early on it was uncomfortable.

Patches of rough skin thickened on my back

and spread quickly like psoriasis.

I took a few heavy steps

as my clothes tattered into chains of ivy

round my legs.  I was thirsty, thirsty.

The tips of my fingers forked and forked again,

shivered into leaf.

 

A hot singing in the soles of my feet,

then the splintering of roots

like new teeth.  I welcomed the pain

because it meant they were through.

They knew their own purpose,

snaking into the earth

and dragging up water.

 

No more sense in movement,

in searching and striving

and all that truthless speech and touch.

Just simple encounters:

birds making casual use of my branches,

sheep coming to me for shelter.

 

Nothing to get done

but to suck in light,

translate it into green.

 

1 April

Remote

by Ra Page

Although I only use a few

its rack of buttons feels familiar

– a scientific calculator

to school kids yet to work out pi.

 

I play the channels with one thumb,

cross by stepping stones of touch,

touch, touch from floodlit football pitch

to chat show guest, to this sit com.

 

But now I’ll have to share the thing,

give up my relay race from news

to news, budge over for someone else

to sit, with tired legs, strange

 

tastes. She points afresh: to archive

footage, video-recorded

lifestyles…jobs I once considered,

places I thought I’d one day live.

 

31 March

Turn off your phone

by Subhadassi

Turn off your phone.

                                   Place it, face down,

on cold sandstone: that oxblood-red back-step

she buffed for sixty years.

                                            Look out

past the well-kept lawn, its marrow stripes

while radio waves walk through walls,

bark, bone and steel:

                                  congregate to a signal.

 

Rest your eyes beyond the fence

on the trunks of birch that ebb into the wood.

Feel those white trees breathe.

                                                      The entropy

of branch and leaf may offer some relief.

 

Whether they do or don't,

after a time you must pick up your phone,

face its empty screen:

                                     turn it on again.