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The floor’s a place
for an outdoor feast
food in a basket

__a quick rub with a dock leaf
__and all is well

yesterdays moon
still shining in the bowl
of her throat

__upside down
__pores not gills

too large for the pond
the carp circling
only one way

__the shadows beneath
__her eyes grow darker

a tongue wags in with
in that dress
you’d expect nothing less

__the small boys pee a row
__of zeros in the snow

urged on
the vicar steps
off the church tower

__into the harbour

can never be cleaned

__the shop assistant eyes up
__stains on his jacket

dark archipelagos
and outlined islands
where they may go

__the honeymoon paid for
__by his parents

you’re always beautiful
to the daisies

__they bury the lamb
__in the half-light

spring’s broken
she shakes the watch
against her ear

__another spaceship enters
__the orbit of the moon

radios crackle
as an electric storm
kicks in

__bake the pears whole
__in sugar and red wine

the burn is brackish
a race of rust
and shed wool

__his beard unstuck
__we recognise Santa Claus

lost in the woods
Hänsel and Gretel
could only eat gingerbread

__growing up fast
__she slams the door

in the face of it
the waiter rolls
the dragon’s eyes

__looking down
__stairs can be dangerous

the elixir’s made
of coltsfoot wrapped in
butterbur leaves

__untie the ribbons
__on the Maypole

making for the open
two hares chase
across the down

__we stagger home
__for the love of Bowmore

sandy toed
shoes on our heads
wading tidal flats

__spun, spun, spun
__into a waltzer kiss

a line of light
traced onto sky
my head aches

__on the long flight east
__two orange dawns

these fried peaches
are they breakfast
or last night’s tea?

__first win of the season
__we follow the moon

cry of an owl
whose hunting who?

__in the dark
__we almost felt the same

the differences
between our bodies
get less with age

__despite the bleeps
__we talk over everything

fuck this!
fuck that!
is all the walls say

__the new school
__ringed by a six foot fence

we catch flies
for the biology teacher’s
flesh eating plants

__popcorn spills over
__at the the late night double bill

wiping off
her make-up
on the last bus

__if you sit still long enough
__you can watch the flowers open

in the birthing pool
the baby slips out
from liquid to liquid

__my ears pop as we enter
__the channel tunnel

for the love of country
I fled
and now you send me back?

__a birthday present
__she keeps the receipt

locked into a drawer
an amulet
a loaded gun

__arms raised for St Jerome
__the blood bubbles

across the land
wells spring
spreading black poison

__cut with a scythe

the charcoal burners camp
in the middle
of the oak wood

__a twist of smoke
__plies through the mist

at the crater’s edge
disturbed by feet
a pebble dances down

__she fell in love
__with her psychoanalyst

together on a couch
a woman
and her cat

__fingers in a bowl
__of tormentil

a whole childhood
along ditches
of frogspawn

__my nose led by
__the smell of wild garlic

walking to the souk
for lemons
and a heel of ginger

__the bitterness wears off
__as time goes by

an undertaker
practises his tuba
in the moonlight

__first hint of frost
__cracks the gardener’s resolve

the whole street's washing
sooted up
by Mr. Smith’s bonfire

__even the blue ribbon
__has turned to ashes

shouldn’t it be gold
that is found
at the end of the rainbow?

__spiral notebooks and other
__tiny packaged objects

what can I say
mice have been at the
snowdrop bulbs again

__up and up
__through the dead leaves

still sitting
the swan beaks
her massive nest

__from the bank cows watch
__a narrowboat pass

which is the river?
which is a canal?
and which the sea?

__we sail them all anyway
__in search of Tir nanOg

the high Possil’s hat
could only
suit you

__what is he to think
__all those hearts on her sleeve?

Lady Murasaki
elegantly dabs
a welling tear

__everyone wants to be
__a workie at breakfast

pull up the blinds
and the moon will shine
on buttered toast

__the train’s delayed
__by the wrong sort of mist

under a beech
the sheep gather
in closed circles

__she clings to his back
__as they cross the river

you see turquoise
behind your eyes
when he touches like that

__the ice cap
__stops melting

Scott crossed out
the word ‘wife’
and wrote ‘widow’

__the auctioneer’s hammer
__comes down with a bang

fourteen cock pheasants
go rocketing
over the hedge

__in her buttonhole
__a speckled feather

up before dawn
to the meadows
mushrooming alone

__he breathes out
__it’s only the moon

willow leaves
float onto and under
the old bridge

__our log pile shifts
__a yowl from the vixen

the smudge of scarlet
through glass you know
is Japanese quince

__painting outdoors
__a delight of warmer days

it takes more time
to hide decorated eggs
in their small garden

__the Buddha’s topknot
__lifts him to the light

helicopter blades
whirl incessantly

__poets shift
__closer to the ground.

a hyakuin renga at Midsummer
The Camellia House, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
(noon) 21 June - (noon) 22 June, 2004

Renga Schema: Jane Reicholdnine

Paul Conneally
Anne-Marie Culhane
Alec Finlay
Linda France
Morven Gregor
Jackie Hardy
Alex Hodby
Gerry Loose
Beth RowsonWith thanks to Nobby, Clare & Alex.

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