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April Incense

Isobel Dixon

Running after rain and breathing deeply

in the just-splashed streets, I run into a wave

of guava washed over a wall: night-fruit


exhalation, courting moths. Spiralling to child again, 

the dusk’s soft tent an outspread tablecloth, lit up 

with tiny pin-pricks from a distant grown-up sphere. 


Trapped, fidgeting through talk-lulled

dinner times, until – after eternity – we hear

the old familiar glass-on-metal scrape


as some strong-wristed aunt untwists a Consol jar,

so that the scent of heaven, pudding, can escape.

Sweet coffee drained, they tread the stairs to sleep,


full up with own-grown riches and parental cares.

And then the farm – at least as far as dam

and defunct antique tractor, chicken run,


the fence – is ours, keen children’s kingdom.

We, a tribe more certain of our sovereignty

and skill, down in that hopscotch dust – 


perfecting aim and balance 

with low-centre-of-gravity confidence – 

than we will ever be, or have been since.


From A Whistling of Birds, a collaboration-in-progress with artist Douglas Robertson, responding to DH Lawrence’s Birds, Beasts and Flowers

© Isobel Dixon 2020