Four poems by Denise Riley

Pers. Comm.

It willed to be ordinary, easy
as rain sifting through woods
but doubt shrouded the mind 
to warp its aim of kindliness. 

Fires were lit and sap hissed
in green branches torn down 
by anxiety contorted to shield 
itself, biting its angry hands.

It smoked out each transparent joy.  
It strode well away from its heart.  
Darkness absorbs the mind, once 
it starts calling itself ‘unwanted’.  

Oh go away for now

Persistent are your lost or dead 
intimates and buried child.  

They won’t leave their wants unsaid          
but tag you with appeals and prods
while your ‘work of mourning’ quails  
before each sibilant attack

inveigling you to lead them back: 
‘You’ve loved us terribly, and so  

you’ve kept us going even though …’ 
Calmly heap fresh soil upon them. 

They can wait for you to join them 
as soon you will; you’ll soon gang up 
to poke and give some new grief to  
whoever, left living, once loved you.  

On the Black Isle

Three ginger temples of oilrigs clamped at the bay’s mouth, a  
big navy sky roiled over cloud pillars; the notebook goes riffling 
through its colour chart for rose-flushed stonework cut clean as
these rain-beaded fuchsias or until that notebook, a mental one, 
flips round to enquire whitely:  Just what do you think you’re up to?  
‘Any gay thing’s worth a chase, for as long as its shade distracts,
so drape, far rain, hung in cinematic swathes’.  Its next reproach
isn’t appealing, either: So where am I in this?  ‘We aren’t – this is in 
rosy Cromarty, its broad fields racing by and silvery ruthless rain 
nettling our scoured skins.’ – Quite vanished and never said why.   
Thick kelp straps gleam in the shallows and loll on the rising tide. 

Boxy Piece
Exhibit of small boxes made from wood 
to house their thought and each an open 
coffin of the not-dead with their chirring. 
Satin-lined frames stack square in blocks
nested to a columbarium – then mumble
closet doves, whose fond carpenter drills
piercings for more air, won’t let you flap.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

  • Twitter
  • Intercapillary Places (Events Series)
  • Publication Series
  • Newsreader Feed