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 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.