The Countryside Code
Plan ahead, be prepared;
so you’re ready for anything.
Follow advice; if you think
it will serve your purpose.
Consider other people;
then forget them, instantly.
Keep yourself under control;
try not to behave inappropriately.
Some gates need closing;
kissing gates take care of themselves.
Follow paths; especially
if you’re not sure where they’ll lead.
Leave no trace of your visit;
go home, act normal.
after Carole King
And when they asked,
she didn’t have the words
for how they’d moved together,
choreographed by understanding;
that they’d found harmony in the familiar.
Or to describe the pin-pricked sky –
tapestry canvas held up to the light.
She couldn’t tell them how she’d stayed
in bed all morning the next day,
so that the night could find its way
inside her head. And if they asked –
and they did – if the earth moved,
she only said it had been beautiful.
It gave you an aversion to coffee,
washing powder and new-mown grass,
made you want to hurl your tea
as soon as it went down. You remember
this time of year, because of the sickness.
With each one it was different.
One of them made you crave cheese
(a love you’ve never lost) another one
expensive orangeade (the cheap stuff
didn’t cut it) and they all put you off fruit.
It was the sickness made you realise.
Before blue lines, or ultrasound, one month
in, one month missed. Twice
it was the answer to a prayer, once,
the delivery of a fear you’d tried to ignore.
But they all came anyway, bringing
shit and sick and noise. Turning you
into a different version of yourself.
Each one chipping a bit more off;
adding something, somewhere else.
Gill Lambert is a poet and teacher from North Yorkshire. She has been published widely in magazines and online and her pamphlet, Uninvited Guests, was recently published by Indigo Dreams. Gill runs the Skipton-based poetry night Shaken in Sheep Town and compères at Word Club in Leeds.