Three poems by Alison Brackenbury

AB4

 
 

    Chance: a dream

 

Yes. It was you. From its small source
my heart rushed like a flooded beck.
But would you lead a writing course?
Or choose a tweed with purple check?

The others sat, to write and learn.
It was too late to learn. Instead
I wandered out of your bare house.
I found you in your writing shed.

I thought that you had fled to work.
But you were languorous and kind.
How broad your shoulders, though you lived
upon your wits, your quick vain mind.

There we were old and we were young,
I called you ‘sweetheart’, till the hall
door shook with gales. Then I woke here,
and wrote this for you, after all.

 

‘Beck’: Lincolnshire dialect word for ‘stream’

 
 

    In the backyard

 

In the wine of last light
on the kitchen chair
I sat still to see bats.
The old cat crouched there.
No bats. A slow seagull,
small moths flitted bark.
Then a robin called endless
before the first dark.

 
 

    Planted

 

On the bus, you rant against ‘immigrants’,
who you see everywhere,
then you stamp into your garden
past the Turkish cherries, the bare-
stemmed rose first named in China.
Your hurt breath slows. You stare
into pools of your dead wife’s snowdrops,
shipped here from God knows where.

 
 

Alison Brackenbury

About Alison Brackenbury

Alison Brackenbury was born in 1953. Her work has won an Eric Gregory Award and a Cholmondeley Award, and has frequently been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4. ‘Gallop’, her Selected Poems, was published in 2019 by Carcanet. New poems can be read on her website: www.alisonbrackenbury.co.uk.