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Catherine Woodward


Night Walking

The black is moving,
Beating by ribbons of Northern green,
The slow dive and swell of the blue.
And under it
The snowy static is falling
And filling the prints
Of lost, white shoes.

The deer have gone now,
Between the silver lines of silver trees
And left their breath hung clear and still.
The calm quiet
Of thorny clash and fiery throw
Dead now and sleeping –
I will, I will

Go walking tonight,
Between the sky and iron river
Where ice is piling thick and slow.
And just the sound
Of sinking soles sets me down to
Sleep, in silent drifts
Of silent snow,

Watching the woods fill
And the blue crack splitting from the black –
The haloed wisps of wandering stags.
I watch them pass,
A slow, spined burn through the night freeze

And when they are gone –
Time darkens…drags…


The Seagulls

The seagulls are hanging
Like childish mobiles –
They come in forties, rain-beaten
Landing flat and graceless
With all the world’s fat, logical weight of bird.

They judder on cloudy fish line,
Bundled into air
By hard Atlantic drumming,
Flexing itself on the shouldered coast –

The flimsy wind breaks,

Claws of throwaway cling film.

And tumbling slowly over head,
The seagulls come in thousands.

A grey cloud crackling
Over the sea,

Blue beaten black.

Washing dishes

The sheets blow east, cloud today,
A morning spent on slow soaped water
And murky run off, murky grey.
And much mistaken I’d have thought her
Work begun, but no – an English day has hours to waste
In day time TV and the grounded taste
Of clattering cups and cups of tea.
‘Till a pluming thought squeezes new,
Turning, swelling, unfully thought through –
God unwilling ‘perhaps there’s not much more to see’.

So drifting over the field of souls
Something holy harvests you, unborn,
And tends the budding lights in holes
‘Till body found and glowing, you’re plucked, torn,
Flung to earth where the dishes are waiting
And the angels are already collating
The book that dictates your history.
But maybe once the Jesus pen slips
And lands her someplace far from home, grips
Loosened on the grey, the mundane mystery.

And swollen, pruned eyes might open; sixty blue
Ethereal gardens, trees swaying softly pink,
While gently curling Asian blossoms fall new
To silk soft grass - they lay the moon down low to sink.
Or maybe thundering, megalith white
The mountains split, shouldering night
Cracked and burning, fierce, apart,
While glaciers carve soft, slow filigree
Through rocky passes to the sea
Where sailing ships hum low and part.

But thickly, wetly, the sink is draining,
That same old sound sludging what she knows –
That it’s weakly, gently, Britishly raining
And every stale breath is one she borrows.

And always, the ancient maps that she sweats clean
Will tell her the horizons rest between
The next load of washing, day time TV,
The dirty dishes, and afternoon tea.


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