Thursday, 10 August 2017

Dark Matters





















Image Kassiƫl Gerrits


My wife insists my legs run constantly
although I think she's making assumptions
based on the rucked up bedsheets on my side.
I'm pretty sure she doesn't move at night.
She settles to sleep like so - and that's how
she is when the morning cracks the curtains.
So maybe it is me. Restless legs? Meh.

Last night was different though. At three AM
I woke. Not in bed but on the landing.
My feet were wet and cold. The moon was full
and I could see my watery footprints
padding up the stairs from the open door,
wild silver light spilling across the lawn.
I traced my steps back out to the grey shrubs.

A large man approached me and I was scared,
shitting it in truth but I didn't run.
Not with my limp. He was wearing this mask.
A helmet really. It seemed like the moon
was within him and shining from these slits
in the mask. He spoke but surprisingly
his voice was soft, calm. "I'll be the surgeon

implanting your Deep Brain Stimulation
There's really nothing to worry about."
I recalled earlier meetings, talking
about wires like rods of fat spaghetti
being eased through my Basal Ganglia.
No one had ever mentioned a helmet.
"Why the helmet?" I asked. "Oh this device?

Your brain will emit some radiation."
He laughed confidently, began whirring...



(Dark Matters refers  to Substantia Nigra - the part of the brain most affected by the death of cells in Parkinson's Disease)



First published at Visual Verse 8/17 as an ekphrastic response to this image from Kassiel Gerrits

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Calf Eye / Caught by the River


 
 
 
Calf Eye

A crowd of gawkers stood around to watch
a digger lift the dead calf from the beach.

A Devon Red, its beaten hide sand-caked,
twisted legs flung out, looking like it might

have dugs its way up from some darker place
to die, satisfied, in ozone and light.

The driver heel-screwed his cigarette,
climbed in the cab and turned toward the calf.

One clouded eye stared up, pointing blindly
at the canvas sky. A polished pebble,

quartz and slate embedded in a slab
of sand and hair. An eye that once looked

through a thin fence without understanding.
The digger chuntered in. We turned aside.

                           -8-

Delighted to have my poem Calf Eye picked up by Caught By The River for their excellent and inspiring site  www.caughtbytheriver.net

Thanks to The Clearing/Little Toller where it was originally published earlier this year (see post below)

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The Kilners





















In April three poems were published at The Clearing. Here's one - follow the link to their beautiful site for the others...

https://www.littletoller.co.uk/the-clearing/poetry/new-poems-marc-woodward/



The Kilners

Two men ignited the bones of the past
one Monday, late in the year’s dark corner.

Boats weighed anchor off the Ness on Tuesday,
awaiting high tide and a hold of lime.

By Wednesday combustion was well progressed,
with a caustic stench and skin-peeling heat.

In Thursday’s moonlight the smoke ascended
like the twisted spire of Ermington church.

On Friday the pall-bearer night wore no gloves;
it shattered wherever it laid its pale hand.

Only the blistering lime kiln was spared
and the two men who slept close to its wall

flanking their deadly charge. During the night
the young burner rolled into the fire.

Whether the boy was choked by toxic smoke
or wooed the heat too closely none could say,

but he burned with insufficient fuss
to rouse the slumbering quarryman.

Saturday the kiln was cooling, ticking down
to Sunday when his riddlings could be raked.






.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Autumn Leaves - music!

Well, there's always music when you've had enough words...

https://youtu.be/URxh20xmSSg

Beeches


Before he fucked off for good with his tart,
his wife dug in a thin row of saplings
along the paddock edge to slice the wind.
Driving past this November afternoon
I saw their leaves shiver orange and gold
against a low dissolution of cloud.
Beeches. Slow growing and platinum barked:
sentinels lancing the uncaring air.

Others might have planted ash for the fire;
or a timber crop, spruce perhaps or fir?
Fruit trees? Apples, plums, pears: all could grow there.
Instead, she bunched her hair and planted beech,
that tall, proud and pretty tree which despite
the winter frost still wears its golden leaves.




Published 12/6/17 at Clear Poetry
https://clearpoetry.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/marc-woodward-three-poems-3/




Thursday, 8 June 2017

News


I'm delighted to have had work popping up in a variety of places recently including Acumen, Clear Poetry, Popshot Magazine, The Clearing,  Prole and in anthologies from Picaroon (Troubadour) and OWF Press (Poetry about Pubs) - my thanks to all the editors.

I'm now looking forward to performing some music and poetry at Moreton Music Day and Port Eliot Festival over the next few weeks where I'll be joined by my brother Andrew on hammered dulcimer. Should be a lot of fun - come and say hello.

Check out their websites for further details set times etc - or follow my Facebook page www.facebook.com/marcwoodwardmandolin



Beyond Broadwoodwidger














Let us suppose your car packs up
out here. Beyond Broadwoodwidger,
St Giles On The Heath, Virginstow.
It is night - a justice of darkness
that lives on these shapeless acres.
You walk the twisted lane a mile
then, seeing lights, you cut across.
Fields, hedges, a dark shadowed copse.
Fields, gates, the woodland edge.

What do you feel?
You feel the brief breath of an owl;
silence after the fox's cough.
What do you hear?
You hear the weight of condensation
on a vast ocean of bending blades.
A hundred rabbits knew your sound
through the earth, long before the air
announced your voice or waved your scent.

Here there is nothing to save you.
If you lie down now, this wet ditch
may be your decomposing place.
Who will find you? Only strangers.
Still the dark world will keep moving,
eating, weatherbound, star stared.
Out here, in the twitch of spiders,
the fright of jays, the quick knee-jerk
of a cricket's ear -  a moment
considered, passing, forgotten.
The only trace: a disturbance
in the scent blown down from the wood;
an imprint on the retina
of a cow's large soft eye, fading.



Originally published in Otter New Devon Poetry  C.1989
and included in A Fright Of Jays published by Maquette Press 2015

Monday, 29 May 2017

The Green Shall Inherit



Put the sky behind you and clamber down
from the wind harried ridge to the deep coombe.

The air becomes still, the trees exhausting.
June the third and these plants would consume you

if such was their nature. Turn and turn back:
the weeds sprout even while you look away.

Drop to the bridle track, shrink to the beads
of dew, cuckoo spit froth, blackberry spike,

stick, splinter and mould. Ant, aphid, woodlouse,
and all the catastrophic underworld

are attending to their chores, chopping up
flags of leaves; new buds bulging in their spoil.

Careless, instinctual, organic - they're all
just a plague away from taking over.

Now shrink smaller still, down to the crazy
ommatidia of a beetle's eye,

gaze through a foliage kaleidoscope
- observatory to a mushroom sky.



First published in Popshot Magazine no. 17 Summer 2017

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Fly-tipping point
















This is where we sit to watch the night come in
ever since Trumputin bombed our English towns.
We emptied freezers, ate our neighbours pets.
Now in the bird-settling, when we once sat down

to be tamed by tv shows we can't recall,
we recline here and watch the weeds approach
knowing soon their rope will be a ligature
that tightly winds itself around our throats.


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Dagan





















Dagan the fish-god was an important god of the maritime Canaanites, the Phoenicians. Early Roman traders came to the West Country to annex the tin mines and may well have used Phoenician galley rowers who may - perhaps - have brought their Gods with them...

"Who has not seen the scarus rise, decoyed and killed by fraudulent flies"
Marcus Valerius Martialis, Roman poet, fisherman and source of this first description of fly fishing.


Where the Teign descends from withy moorland,
quick under sloe and red berried rowan,
scrapes over grit into fly-whirling pools
- and slivers of brownies waggle and flit -

Martial the poet took twelve foot of silk,
a Hare's Ear nymph tied with feathers from Rome;
and with a neat flick put a hook in the lip
of the fish god Dagan - Dew of the Land -

a Merman in azure and olive scales
burnished as bright as a Lazio noon,
crowned with cassiterite, cloaked in the moon.

Swiftly unhanded he slipped the God back
into hollow water. Cold western winds
sucked up the sea into chough-feather clouds.



First published in The Broadsheet 10/2016

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Pulse



i)  Time

Picture a pendulum;
             the moon's patinated dial,
with each long sweep shifting

              the ocean back and forth,
scraping seashell dust along
                  a mahogany floor.


ii)  Rhythm

Sea-tugged boats swing on their moorings,
rotating to a lunar beat.

Tethered to knotty trots regatta dinghies
founder and rise, levitating with the tide.

The ferry plies its trade across the harbour;
small queues grow and vanish on opposing shores.

Anglers arc bass lures overarm
then reel them back in, tangled with weed.

Returning house martins feel another pull
- that of a slower seasonal migration,

like the coach loads of summer tourists
who swell the bars in this seaside town

eating a cardiac of cod and chips,
banging empty pints on waspy tables.

Over the river the wealthy retired
shuttle from village shop to pharmacy,

until flashing blues block the street
while a doctor gently seeks a pulse.



iii)  Repeat

A sea so calm it holds the stars
               in yellow stains. And nearer,
on the cooling sand: two starfish,
              in a lovers' kiss, left by the change.

The new tide unclutters the beach.
              Morning wipes the stars from the sea.

These planes and circles mirror and repeat.
The grit of stars and shells grinds at our feet.




Published in Acumen, January 2017

                







Friday, 20 January 2017

News January 2017

It's always a thrill to have work accepted and I'm delighted to have had recent work chosen by Acumen, Prole, The Clearing, Visual Verse, Clear Poetry, Lakeview International Journal  and the new Vancouver based art and literature magazine Chroma.

I'm now looking forward to opening Teignmouth Poetry Festival with Dr Andy Brown reading from our collaborative collection "The Tin Lodes".
Thursday 16th March 2017 details at the Teignmouth Poetry Festival website.

Meanwhile I'm off to do a guest reading and contribute to the feedback session at Woodleigh House Residential writing weekend in darkest mid-Devon. Expecting sheep, mud, frost and wine...