TO BE A RIVER
to be that close feel leeches frogs and trout arrive and leave with the seasons to have damsels beetles finding their way and clouds in brief attendance admiring their fullness to learn her songs drifting largo of morning air forte after rain to borrow her summer pearls winter glitz the way she dances in days of sun nights of moons to measure her ever-changing weight of fell-rain scree all that is thrown at her – carcases tree limbs blocking her every move I envy the hundred-year-old bridges grown weak at her touch the boulders lodged in her bed like bodyguards at club doors and to know who she is after drought the scent and ease in which her skin recovers after scorching sun the way she takes hellish weather for granted greets floods holds and lets herself go breaking banks thick with foxglove and fern sweeping villages and towns to one side to be unafraid of losing herself to the sea
RIVER TALK After Raymond Carver
I’d slip across mossy rocks to catch your intonations clear as glass splintering morning air, accents you taught me before the scent of pine lifted from your tongue, before blackbirds and traffic spilled over the bridge. Come autumn you’d growl open-mouthed through the woods towards me louder than a stream, faster than a beck bold as a heron I’d wait on the brim. Sometimes a rush of hungry dippers murmured through marigold edges like angels but I didn’t need saving I learned to measure the highs and lows of your voice even in winter when your lips barely moved, and you held me like a mother in a perfume of breathy lullabies sinking deep into my pillow and I clung as if I was your child to every word you whispered like fog shifting from your skin. All night I’d lie awake listening to the sound the water made until I was fluent.
BIRTHDAY for Rebecca
I hear you’re journeying friends into the underworld, guiding them through deep places to disentangle roots blocking their way forward. Like Persephone stolen by Hades from her meadow I always knew one day you’d leave to move among husks below my feet, collect the seeds from flowers gathered for our table after school. I hear you mixing pigment, scent, dipping brushes into cadmium, rose madder, manganese blue, shifting bluebell bulbs, clover, bistort in the dark to lighten overcast corridors. Today is your birthday, the first time we cannot be together.
Kerry Darbishire lives in Cumbria where most of her poetry is rooted. She has two poetry collections with Indigo Dreams, a pamphlet with Dempsey and Windle, a collaborative pamphlet with Grey Hen Press and a third full collection forthcoming with Hedgehog Press.
Poetry: A Lift of Wings – Indigo Dreams
Distance Sweet on my Tongue – Indigo Dreams
(Cumbria Life Culture Awards FINALIST 2019)
A Window of Passing Light
Biography: Kay’s Ark – Handstand Press