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Through the market stalls
an autumn gust
rattling the dream catchers

__the roof strained the rain
__that fell in the night

up early
surprising the half moon
in the river

__yellow leaves stitch
__a skin over the water

the alphabet
and home sweet home
in an old frame

__remains of floral wallpaper
__an abandoned house on the machar

crossing the peat bog —
three figures, an empty jar
and one brown trout

__ smoking legally on the beach
__among a cluster of shells

for preference things
dotted about
drinking, the men wait

__boring her only comment
__as she flicks channels

face in blue twilight
that had held colours I had
never seen before

__she pulled over the car to photograph
__the fox dead on the road

it took a long time
satisfied or sacrificed
weakly unhappy

__nothing is left on the cloth
__but breadcrumbs and wine-stains

all rise
rearing with one clawed paw

__vomiting pale liquid
__into a neighbour's privet hedge

winter winds
the boiler repair man
says we need a new pump

__if you can imagine
__fourteen thousand tons of ice

the queues
for Titanic stretch
all the way round the block

__manic morality consciousness
__the body glorifies enchantments

tongue eyes heart
through the nave
plainsong rising

__for now he can leave the dough
__to its own devices

automata dancing
when Ada learned to spell control
she fell in love

__she waited for it
__she heard something go go

6p a minute
for as little as that means
in the yellow pool house

__on the gay beach, the private one, nude
__outside the sands a little hot

an ice-cream seller
points out the way to me
with an ice-cream

__another illusion
__a cheap sugary rush

foot tapping
to the rhythm of blues
who will take me home tonight?

__two weeks away – a buddleia
__has rooted on the side of the van

on the first of april
another rumour
from a distant war

__above the gun carriages
__the snow line recedes

a naked insect
hanging in the spelt air
my woodcut character

__voting with inky fingers
__the print union walks out

they struck and struck
transferring offshore
glacial deposits

__the icy path home
__from the I.V.F clinic

seeding honesty
the waning moon reflected
in his glasses

__the brambles have lost their sheen
__and their sweetness

so I pine and I need
to pine for pine, like jaybird
dips branches, follows me ahead

__how long a line
__to plumb the fore-running

butterbur are pink
like sea anemones
not yellow like butter

__not knowing what will thrive hurts me
__not knowing what will thrive

trellis ears?
yells barber at patch ready
for the years bluntings

__cutting through it all
__the vixen screams for a mate

out of the fog
a beautiful young woman
slowly appears

__red fly agaric
__beneath white birch stems

shavings in a white saucer
the pencil was blunt
from writing about the moon

__a long night
__incarcerated in separate couchettes

neither of us slept
she says and womanhandles in
a pregnant therefore

__her open mouth
__full of dead butterflies

door ajar behind him
he pisses
a round hole in the snow

__measure of depth
__and vulnerabilty

Y.H.A 10th floor
woken by an earthquake in Berkeley
lousy weak building

__I had to hack to the door
__the hedge was so high on my return

neighbours cast sidelong glances
at his fairy tales
his happy garden-endings

__they shrink in greenhouses
__lost among pettifers and spider webs

lace is a map
of the maker's contentment
all islands and ocean

__you get here
__by canoe

sliced plantain
I fry it
to the sound of thunder

__the carnival queen's dress
__becomes see-through in the rain

dead snake
on the hill-path
eyes clouded over

__for fingers

the tethered dog
refuses to give up
yelping and snapping

__Sisyphus wins British citizenship
__on appeal

in a letter
read by moonlight
the messages are mixed

__the bishop's mistress
__twizzles her sparkler

relief to be
taking the air alone – see them
pat they come: mushrooms


the old hills of home
unexpectedly foreign
viewed from the city

__the tracheotomy didn't work then –
__a lunchtime discussion

separate by degrees
the flaw was being brokered
across the networks

__fire in the roots
__burnt fiercest

what if all we are
is our voices? then
our platform is a chatroom

__everything there is to say
__saltmarsh wind

glottal stop of the mud
pulling out her boot
waves at parting

__choosing the freshest bladderwrack
__to dye the wool

in the hollows of the boulder
it slows down time

__gold lacquer behind her eyelids
__a trick of the night

after a first frost
coming down the spiral ramp

__his clarinet becomes the moon
__becomes the river

a huge crowd gathers
on Leicester's 'Golden Mile' –

__begin the burn through darkness
__within our separate lights

human figures
above us

__the goat in her
__wants sky, gentians

wispy clouds
passing across the dome
of a jelly fish


you can't go out
without putting on the heavy jumper
I made you

__iced-over cardboard boxes
__a head emerges

winter aconite winter barley
winter cherry winter clover

__tête-à-tête with the moon this Halloween's
__overcast, your cancer's waned

this time of year
skins get thinner
let in what light there is

__a branch break sounds
__over the membrane of a drum

you wake me
in a language you don't speak

__if in doubt
__run a bath

lavender drops float candles
as the soap circumnavigates
my knees

__life on the space station
__brings its own problems

night looses slowly
this one sun
spring lambed

__sticky and tight, about
__to unclench

sorrel leaves
first tasted
by a slug

there is something in this soup
we all want.

a hyakuin renga in Autumn
BALTIC: The Centre for Contemporary Art
Saturday 18 October – Sunday 19th October

Renga schema: Martin Lucas

Twelve Poets
Bruce Bamber
John Cayley
Ken Cockburn
Paul Conneally
Anne-Marie Culhane
Alec Finlay
Linda France
Harry Gilonis
Elizabeth James
Ira Lightman
Gerry Loose
Martin Lucas

With thanks to Elliot, Pauline, Alison, Gavin, Jude, Judy, Emma, Tamsin and Eileen.

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