The Particle

The Particle

I won’t pretend I know anything
about physics,

or the Higgs Boson,
or where mass comes from

but I do know
(cos I’ve seen the simulations)

that it looks like someone’s been let loose
with a broken spirograph. Remember

they’ve been looking for so long
and now they say it fits the profile

of something
they dreamt up fifty years ago.

Just think how often they get it wrong
and they did say ‘it might be’ and ‘it looks like’

and the last I heard they were
‘doing further tests’.

This would-be, could-be little flash of fire
ignites our interest,

just like a shooting star
we almost saw.

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Bees

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Bees

The bees surround
the rhododendron:
natures as a battle ground.
The nectar snare,
the rising hum.
The parent plant,
uprooted – swollen
Dry cracks fat-full,
flow with ants
and petals spill
a lilac blanket on the grass.
A thorny branch wears
jewels of dew as a diadem.
The bees snap back
to the hive. Summoned
by the drum in their head.
Hear it now,
the rising hum.
They won’t be here
in forty days, for then
they will be dead.

Poem to my Aunt

Poem to my Aunt

I see you kept those wild black curls
though you’ve let your eyes burn out:
those un-stoked embers among the coals,
ashen as your hair should be.

Your mother, my great-grandmother, swept up
into the night’s silver eye. Her Victorian heels
dug hard into the carpet, even after a decade
of slow-depleted strength, but you
simply faded out of sight
without a whisper.

You could have grieved with us. We would
have made room. You could have
come back and visited us – anytime.

I saw you, years later
at a car-boot sale. You looked so frail
hanging to his arm as if the earth were already dragging
you down into the ground, your heels
yielding to it – and though I’d heard about your stroke
it still shocked me to recognise the life
wisped away from you.

I wished you’d have come to us
let him sleep in the armchair,
his head disarmed
against the embroidery.
We would have laughed the fire back into you.

Untitled Poem

I pour the words on the page.
Every word dirty,
every trick played.
Stabbing the lead in the wood
and erasing it all
when it’s not any good.
My wrists are triumphant
with notches. Trophies
of a loosely thread mind,
scarred as if each ship
I have passed in the night
has taken a bite out of me.
The lip of their keels
puckered up, ready to suck
at my blood, thick as oil
and spoiled.
I sit on the surface
never quite fitting in,
but depressing against it
and pushing. I swear
the atoms would split like rats
just to get away from me.

When the course is over

When the course is over

What will I do in the summer months
and after that, in the years to come?

What will I say when my poems talk to me
as I pluck them out of my heart as if

they were jars full of words I could eat;
as I lay them out on the page and polish them

until they hover above the whiteness
in all their not-quite-there-yet splendor,

but still shining and wanting to be read?
Who will I show them to

as they gasp for a breath to be dealt to them;
for the page to be plumped-up, pumping

their hearts into full thump;
as they gasp, their first raspy breaths,

that could be their last,
with my fingers poised to write

but the pen never quite touching the page?
Who will read them, then?