A sketch of light
From the terrace I watch a green haze
spread between the rows of cut wheat,
and I have a notion of paint box and brush
playful strokes of envy quenching the usual,
of creatures, like light motes in my eye,
plotting to draw me out, into the field.
I go, I walk the familiar, one foot then
the other between the broken frames
of harvest, tread on prickly edged weeds
from seed, wind blown, favoured
by an equal measure of rain and sun.
I follow the coppice of stalk,
along byways of resilience, going
where chance intersects the ordinary,
attending to difference for some small time
before the plough churns it all to dust.
The meteorologist mapped the storm
from Aquitaine through Auvergne to Ain,
an amber streak across the country,
that doesn’t plan to linger in any place,
but to sweep through like a boy racer
in Daddy’s birthday gift: all flash and crash.
With its path predicted people thin back
into their homes, away from air thickening
with the weight of plum stained cloud
that rolls and shelves in the sun’s
last puff of light before the sky turns
to cavernous concrete,
before the woods become a leaf sea,
tree trunks stoop sideways,
tables tip, buckets upend.
We shutter doors, windows
stack chairs, unhook the chimes,
call the dogs in, uncork the wine.
Come morning we have our first sight
of green woodpeckers foraging for ants,
their colours splashing the dull of today.
I wonder if their homes were like mine,
where little girls should be seen
and not heard was served
as regularly as the Sunday roast.
My lessons began in a Silver Cross,
fully sprung, polished chrome,
me dummied quiet – just in case
the neighbours were resting
and there I am, party ready,
pink smoked dress and bolero,
black patent ankle straps
you mind your p’s and q’s now
I’m off to school, beret straight,
gym-slip regulation length
no talking until you’re outside,
hands up if you know the answer
soon new words became routine
you’re not going out looking like that
scrub that muck off your face
words that trailed behind me
all the way to growing up and wondering
if, when he put one finger on his lips
and another in their knickers,
they thought no-one would fix it.
Marilyn Hammick writes at home in England and France, and can also be found stitching, walking or on her yoga mat. Her poems have appeared in Prole, The Linnet’s Wings, The Interpreter’s House and in other print and online journals.