Field trip to Cadair Idris, 1974
We came from standing water, drownings,
the mosh of forges, silver buckets shunting.
Tipped out in first boots, under the mewl
of buzzards and the spread of clouds,
we climbed through rain. The path was pale
with stones and sand, redwoods stalked away
and after we were delicate in butterwort,
careful on slopes, we spoke of vodka.
Way up, under a marly sky, the armchair
of Llyn Cau, where Idris sat counting stars.
Someone said make a wish, as if the
five blues in its bowl was sacred water,
so we did, mink-farm Sharon and me,
leaning against the whale stone, cupping
our hands to collect the pooling rain,
and all the wind and far off sea.
Edith in the Bay Window
I spied on Edith as she sat writing letters,
full of softness, like a mother in a fairy tale.
There was no man, apart from a bachelor son
who was no bother. He brought half-decent
windfalls over and I baked an apple pie in return.
It was neighbourliness of a sort, though I never
found out how either of them felt about anything
important. She died suddenly and without knowing
why, I imagine letting myself in as a daughter would,
touching her things, holding vellum to the light.
George Dyer Slips the Afternoon Away
A robber’s moon and Chiswick foxes
strolling through the gate, dainty as you like.
I’d come from the glory hole, drinking
with a stranger for hours in the half-lit
back room, a man with the blackest
eyes I’d ever seen. He could handle me,
and me him. Skin of an eel.
Skin of an eel. Kneeling for gin.
Then the party went to ash –
wrong music on the jukebox
a blousy laugh from the street.
He said too much, started on
the romance side of it, Soho nights
meeting up, that lark.
I scarpered to your place Mr
Francis Bacon, sir, Lord of the
bleedin’ manor, Mr Painter.
Broke in through the back window
looking for silver and found you
standing like one of your own crucified
figures. You knew right then I was one
of your men wrecked somewhere and wild.
You nodded toward the stairs, smiled
and I walked on broken glass to follow you up.
Roz Goddard is a poet and former poet laureate of Birmingham. She has published four collections of poems. The most recent, The Sopranos Sonnets and Other Poems was published by Nine Arches Press. She is currently working on another collection of poems.