Susan Darlington's debut poetry collection, Under The Devil's Moon, is available through Penniless Press Publications. She is an Leeds based poet whose work has been widely published in the likes of Dream Catcher, Mistress Quickly’s Bed, Baker Street Irregular, Fire and Obsessed With Pipework. She has performed readings in and around West Yorkshire. She is also an arts journalist and has been a regular contributor to a range of publications over the last two decades, including the Yorkshire Evening Post, Metro, Morning Star, Loud And Quiet and R2 (formerly Rock ‘n’ Reel).
POMEGRANATE The pomegranate seeds are sown down the centre of the road, equidistant flashes of red that sparkle like gemstones in the car’s chill headlights. They impassively mark the distance that’s passed between here - another seed comes into view - and the there of your kitchen, where we sat on stark wood chairs with our knees barely touching, our hands wrapped around slowly cooling tea served in white tea cups; their glaze delicately mapped with cracks. THE WREN Shivering in the austere thermals of winter the wren perches on a white bone bough opposite his house, its needle-point eyes trained on the glass paned door as it waits for movement. He finally emerges to throw out scraps of food and it crashes through the thin air to ravenously eat with a flight-flexed gratefulness that’s at odds with what’s so carelessly and sporadically offered. Eighteen months ago it was milk-fat and sated on the riches he finger-fed from his table; its speckled breast plump and sleek with health as it gorged on the words and touch of his affection. Now its flanks are thin and feathers in tatters, starving for wont of attention; broken in the wisdom that it needs to rebuild its nest where it’s wanted but still unwilling to acknowledge that this is over. AMBITION At school I was told that I lacked ambition, that seeing a fox was too easy to fulfil. Yet last night, when I saw the vixen dash out from a thicket of coppiced trees, the white tip of her brush perfectly aligned with the sharp point of her black nose, and when I grasped handfuls of red fur to steady my balance on her rounded back – her taut muscles flexing under my thighs as she slipped into the shadow of gardens and rooted around in the rich, moist soil for worms and discarded leftovers to eat – I felt the same rush of uncomplicated joy that I experienced as the seven-year-old who was tasked in a classroom to write what it was she most wanted to achieve. ICE CRYSTALS The cat makes Braille in the freshly fallen snow, its fugitive paws mapping the garden’s contours with nerve strung, fastidious deliberation. It pauses, one paw suspended in silence, and its monochrome ears swivel in the direction of ice crystals creaking in the roots of an oak. Under its feet water droplets freeze inside the tree, the molecules expanding into a hexagonal lattice that punctures and crushes the cells’ membranes. Creeping from cell to dehydrated cell the crystals start the tree’s slow death even as the cat turns and returns to the warmth of the hearth.
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
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