By Stephen Kingsnorth
Amongst the Waves
I saw her in the Maundy aisle of steady stream, robed city life, my viewpoint from cathedral stall. So short beneath the vaulted heights, but stature tall as gazed about, an eye caught from amongst the crowd, as sight, finite, felt infinity. I have the invitation card, calligraphy in serif styled, but on the day for charity, she suffered cold, did not appear; with faithful Philip, met instead. And so her daughter, Princess Royal, and Prince, now King, those years ago. But Monarch then, in violet haze, amongst the waves, her people, sea, a gracious isle of dignity, against dull dun of polished tiles, our Queen alone, purple in aisle.
Both nuthatch trails, treecreeper swirls, bluebells dappled by their woods, mauve heather moors steeped skylark thrills - yet finding frogspawn clumps for jars; that’s how I grasped the name the birds and flowers blooming from the paths which wandered through my early days - bee buddleia through cinder tracks wind willow herb by granite kerbs. I saw resilience of much, the better seed in soil known home; bird flocks that flew in balanced air where insects, worms grew undisturbed. I thought that commonwealth was shared and passed from parents, offspring gems, just as past generations knew - the nursery where folklore learned. But now it seems those things are scanned, but past those screens the world closed down, as if those tablets make us blind so moments with our globe are lost. Our phones are I and me alone, a book of faces, friends to drop, near neighbours in my hand alone, a stand-alone though in a crowd. The text, my conversations form, its language not as I would speak, as if my tongue robotic bleep, a button pressed by fingertip. We scorn the envelope, its stamp, the slowness turning mind to write, our notes rewritten overnight, the time it took to seal and post. That proofread become a lost art, when words were tempered, mind and heart, and reading measured handiwork, the shape, style, how was figured ink. Our race has traded space for speed, considered talk for coded words, and multitasks for one to one. I long for frogspawn in a jar.
My teenage, borne in urban scape by serendipity, in stealth, effected move to moorland heath. Mount orange box, guide skipping rope, bold pavement swerves, clipped city kerbs, week’s shopping bags, strewn apples, leeks - old go-cart gave way, hiking boots, that axle burn turned abseil hold. I longed for yells, clear crowds from path, big points for scare, here mine alone - heard belay calls, rock climbing face, slow rise to rush adrenalin. Nail granite bite, one toe tip grip, supplanted by wind rush, tor top, curbed charm of snaking coil below, saw route, sail reservoir, canoe. Words tack and boom, with crampon spikes, set rhyming slang took on fresh voice, with burr and rolling singing slurs, an adolescent culture twist. Across the tracks, my circuit mates, paroled their streets, fixed terms fulfilled; but I, transferred to peat moss, grouse, had no complaints, new venture paths.
There is no useless beauty, or even wasted shame; oil and water mix when whisked, emulsified, so fixed. We prefer separation, yet good and evil, twixt, are joined in every spirit, a battle from within. But which will gain the upper hand, where colours merge, stand out, and will we face the portrait, or choose landscape instead? It’s promised in the rainbow, where sun needs rain to lift; the crock of gold illusive, as choice remains intact.
Some juicy packs need friends about, with laughter dripping, dripping mash, strands and stringy orange pulp, sip slipware sliding uncontrolled, fruit of the spirit, fleshy stuff. It is no wonder there’s a blush, and hard stone hidden, brown in gold; of ways to eat a mango - cold and frothy, mush-filled lassi glass.
Stephen Kingsnorth, retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church(following the onset of Parkinson’s Disease), has had pieces accepted by various on-line poetry sites, as well as Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry, Allegro, The Dawntreader, & Foxtrot Uniform Poetry Magazines. https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/
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