Month: October 2010

Dancing Lessons

Look, she said, at the colours that flash as I turn,

Reds, auburns, russets, golds

Breathe, she said, breathe the air that stops as I pass,

Soft, hushed, calm, electric

Listen, she said, to the music that follows my moves,

Songs, whistles, drums of the forest

Smell, she said, smell my perfume as I sway,

Still turning heads and breaking hearts

Feel, she said, feel the strength of my feet

Solid, rooted, grounded

Watch, she said, watch the swirl of my skirt

Watch it fold, and dance, and twirl,

As I scatter confetti

As I move in the forest

As I dance to the birdsong

As I breathe out my perfume

As I stand here sure-footed

In my full female power

Watch, she said

As I swing through the seasons

As I dance through the decades

Learn, she said

As I shake my leaves

As I twirl my skirt

As I show you just how to dance.

Walled Garden

Walled garden warmth, the buzz of bees and
Cupboards of gooseberry bushes,
A garden the way his father showed him.

The dance of cabbage butterflies and I am home,
I am high above the railway line, high above
All the topping and tailing, the old greenhouse,
With blackberries on the fence above the railway.
No single pane of glass but grapes that grew,
Whitecurrants, redcurrants, loganberries, it was
like peas in rows, sweetly climbing
Producing thick and heavy that summer
Letting us make the berry rich kingdom of Fife in south London.

Pods with the sweetest fruit that I’d collect,
Wine, fermenting for weeks,
A suburban garden, my father working, and
In the kitchen, my mother, shelling peas.


For an audio version of this poem, please click the arrow below.

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