UK

The Windrush

Dem did sey she pregnance

Cum a sea full a mi

Weighing har down eena har shoe dem

Dresses, coco, mangoes an baggy an arl

 

Dem did sey de ship nearly sink

Mi mumma nebah sleep a wink

Dem did sey Inglan full a promise

But arl mi mumma do a reminisce

 

She did stow away

An hide betwix de trunk dem

She cum doh

Coz mi puppa cum too

 

She stuff full a mi

An mi a gunna mek har rich

Har belly bulge stretch

Sea sick

Marnin sick

Home sick

 

Fern Hill

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs

About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,

The night above the dingle starry,

   Time let me hail and climb

Golden in the heydays of his eyes,

And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns

And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves

   Trail with daisies and barley

Down the rivers of the windfall light.

 

Blackberrying

Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,

Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly,

A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea

Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries

Big as the ball of my thumb, and dumb as eyes

Ebon in the hedges, fat

With blue-red juices. These they squander on my fingers.

I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me.

They accommodate themselves to my milkbottle, flattening their sides.

 

Sonnets from the Portuguese 24

Let the world’s sharpness, like a clasping knife,

Shut in upon itself and do no harm

In this close hand of Love, now soft and warm,

And let us hear no sound of human strife

After the click of the shutting. Life to life —

I lean upon thee, Dear, without alarm,

And feel as safe as guarded by a charm

Against the stab of worldlings, who if rife

Are weak to injure.     Very whitely still

The lilies of our lives may reassure

Their blossoms from their roots, accessible

Under the Answering Sky

I can manage being alone,

can pace out convivial hope

across my managing ground.

Someone might call, later.

 

What do the dead make of us

that we’d flay ourselves trying

to hear them though they may

sigh at such close loneliness.

 

I would catch, not my echo,

but their guarantee that this

bright flat blue is a mouth

of the world speaking back.

 

There is no depth to that blue.

It won’t ‘bring the principle

A Short Story of Falling

It is the story of the falling rain

to turn into a leaf and fall again

 

it is the secret of a summer shower

to steal the light and hide it in a flower

 

and every flower a tiny tributary

that from the ground flows green and momentary

 

is one of water’s wishes and this tale

hangs in a seed-head smaller than my thumbnail

 

if only I a passerby could pass

as clear as water through a plume of grass

 

to find the sunlight hidden at the tip

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