know how this happens. First the earth-skin
splits, opens and with dark woods sleeping, a bear
stirs, stretches, shits, and saunters to open ground,
a clearing with trees stretched back, and once there
washes. Each stroke measured against the crush of his fur.
The consideration of his tongue stills her. He licks. Slow
movements follow the rhythm of his blood. Morning; and low
light breaks against bark, refracts, and leaves its mark on skin.
The bear continues his preparation, his grooming of fur.
His claws part his pelage; reveal the thin seam of bare
flesh, hint at his nakedness. She waits, watches him there
as he grooms himself in readiness, sprawled on the ground.
wants his flesh pressed against her, his soft round
form, his folds of skin from hibernation, his lazy slow
manner. She breathes against him, flesh-to-flesh. Their
selves merge, absorb the other, skin seeps into skin
becomes one. They slip inside the other and bare
breaths twist, intermingle, and escape up though fir
Does he distract her from herself? His fur
is thick with earth as he delivers his scent to the ground.
He stretches, flicks a paw. He’s dreamt her naked. Her bare
flesh, through the long bones of
winter, through low
and trees. He runs a claw along her form, opens skin,
exposes those secrets hidden from eyes and feeds them. Their
spill, pool, become new blood. The earth stains. They’re
wounded. They separate. This bear scares her. He shakes off fur
reveals himself. He ruts against the earth, casts off his skin.
Retreats. The world stills. He leaves his pelt on the ground.
She pauses. Takes stock. Relaxes. Her breathing is slow.
Deliberate. Her fear’s removed. She’s exposed. Bare.
flesh is open to the sky. Meanwhile the bear
has gone. The woods have no memory of him being there.
The trees breathe. Their sap returns. Spring begins her slow
climb. Naked trees are again re-clothed among the firs.
The forest evergreens held the cold at bay. The ground
stirs with the kiss of Spring. She nourishes her new skin.
beneath her glow, is there a memory of a bear
and the fitting of her new skin? This skin was always there
once smothered with fur, now discarded, left to the ground.
This hour is
fat, yet still it hangs by a knife
blade. We’re not ready to brave the cut
instead we admire the plumpness, run
a nail across the surface. Its scent fills
our skins. We hesitate. Do we feast
on the flesh, allow our tongues the juice?
Or shall we let it drop, explode to the floor,
and watch it splatter? Will we let it seep
through our wounds; congeal our blood until
we solidify? Or, instead do we do nothing but
admire its form, unsure of ourselves?
Do nothing, but wait while its wholeness
withers as it shrinks to its own skin,
and another hour approaches despite us.
The Merchant's House:
This poem was written as part of a collaboration with the
Worcestershire Poetry stanza, inspired by the buildings at Avoncroft
Museum, nr. Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.
The poems written from this collaboration are part of a poetry trail
which runs at Avoncroft until January 2013.
The Merchant’s House
My Master’s house holds colour.
Within winter’s flaxen skies,
the sun hidden, he bids me
touch those sudden bolts of red,
subdued at first, then spilt.
At night the /Sleep of Plants/
protect their budded young.
There are many faces to green
though each is weak in light.
Ripened men take buckthorn
shade anointed flesh. Lush.
And the sap damp to the ears.
Washed and washed again,
Walwort’s stolen blue fabric
seethed in water, left out to dry.
My firmament unstitched.
I watch for the seam of light
beneath wood. My Master comes
with my sky-skinned elder-black,
starred where the dye’s uncaught.
Four poems from
These poems were
inspired by my time as a Workshop Leader as part of Poleworth’s Dig
the Poetry sessions. In particular I was looking as using the
senses, other than sight to convey asense of the place.
As you sleep
under night’s habit
of holding secrets,
and the hiss of stars
bleeds dew tears
from the lawn, I move
before awakening light
as answered as a prayer.
This is how it is
Morning brings its own
fastens itself against the touch of soil.
The day yawns,
rosemary, passing thyme
by the mouth of the day.
The sun rests its head
on the curve of the Abbey.
Light distils through
colours break, scatter
Inside my world stills,
cups my soul.
gleams with a knowledge
The silence holds each
lets it speak, while my tongue
knows its place.
Each day here knows
its own stillness,
and its strength.
Ours is to trust
and to trust again.
Our paths lengthen.
Each footstep unique
as our own conformities.
The floor absorbs us.
Sheep, has been published in
the on-line journal, Ink, Sweat and Tears:
read some poems from Petrolhead please click on the links below.
To listen to poems from
Petrolhead please click on the players below.
Other poems, please
click on the links below: