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Birch tree in sun

One blown human flower

Three new poems by Carol Rumens.

Almost an Invitation

Come nearer, gentle green
monotone, let me discern 
Horsetail from grass, and the fine line between 
all grassy species.
Cow Parsley, bring your bright white coral crumbs,
and Meadowsweet, lift clouded silvery fountains;
grow tall as girlhood, hide the dark old mountains. 

Sun-yellow Lion-Tooth, toil,
bite back all that was taken
in hand by hands like mine that drove
iron into your soil.
Tell us the time again, blue Shepherd’s Bell;
forgive us the flocks we fleeced
for lotions, lagging, motor-oil:
and you, bold sapling Oak
and pioneering Birch, once dispossessed,
dig in, enjoy my field!
Feel free to stretch, to rise, but oh, don’t build
too near the sky, don’t poke
those high ancestral lines, the super-power 
which is my fire my light my song my sanction 
to love and live the multiple transactions

of one blown human flower.
Yr Wylan / The Seagull

The herring-gull’s pole-star is the telegraph-pole.
Big bird, thin neck, small head; up there, each eye

is measuring distances, the balancing
of gravity and air, the existential

goal – the grace – to eat and not get eaten.
Yr wylan swoops and, landing, seems surprised.

It pads flatly around the weedy paving,
on sea-clean feet that have never known the sea,

nodding, circling, darts a fish-hook beak
into the dish of cat-food, peeks again
left, right, left, right, exposed, shyly determined, 
settles to peck. Its mate sails in from nowhere. 

Their dinner-date’s a rapid decorous ritual,
concluded by paired lift-off, graduating

to under-belly shine, and white, perfected wingspan. 
Dafydd ap Gwilym’s sight-line caught the picture – 

‘light of the waves’, ‘sea-lily’, ‘silver letter’ – 
higher and farther away, sometimes resting

mid-sky, free-gliding sideways, gathering height in wide
pulsating arcs and then not there: beyond us.

At dusk, they’ll chortle back. They have a nest to furnish
and fill with muscle-memory’s tides and thermals.

To the Moon above Lon Carfon

Who now can see you straight 
and female in the world’s old way? Who’ll wait

for a lover’s sky? Your blurred development
from new to young, from young to waxing crescent, 

to waxing quarter, waxing gibbous, full,
will be your truth. Let’s not thumb any vehicle 

that leaves us metaphorically confused.
Linger only in cloud-light, dawn-diffused, 

theatrical, where house-trained conifers, 
CCTV-enabled lucifers

and nimby warning-signs are merely twinkles.
Surface the lane with ‘roughness, ridges, wrinkles …’
The lane’s your silver. I’m your gravity.
My shadow, taller, blacker, glides ahead of me. 

Carol Rumens poet

Carol Rumens lives in North Wales, and writes full-time. Her most recent poetry publications are The Mixed Urn (Sheep Meadow, 2019, USA) and Bezdelki: Small Things (The Emma Press, 2018, UK). The latter received the annual Michael Marks Award for best poetry pamphlet.

Author photo by Becky Rumens.

All poems copyright © Carol Rumens 2023.

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