Sequence in Green (i) breaths Like in lights/breaths the woodwind song meets the trees. A green growth/ a rush of roots/ birds. Summer-swell/the flowered edges of day breaking. (ii) buds Hills of green shadow and butter-gorse. The dead made of dry stalks with all their buds inside them. (iii) bones Green lifts and stitches-in Perfumes/ summering Silver-back gull, wind-scuffed, sun-buried/ ghost-bird with a still-feathered skull, each puffed-out wing fragrant with oxygen/ each jade-eye a salty stone peering keen to the wound of the shore sown with olive pods polished as knuckle bones. (iv) blood Emerald, in your daybed of flowers trapping all the shucked-light of the sun as sugar/as oxygen/ as diamonds/ as blood.
Ideogram for Red after Alice Oswald In a shadow, an invisible red where the first flower sounds. Narrow, and red-through in all directions. Underfoot - roots. Blood. A claw of wood. Red becomes a red-rush/ the flash of a robin’s breast in a splay of autumn blades. Red rising with the sun/ without bearings vanishing in the outbloom of light. Struggling, like each colour to be seen red bursts with the fury of a firework folds herself into herself fails for a season.
Sequence in Green is © Gillian Prew
from The Black Stanzas
(i) a yoke of blood/my iris-eye
Too narrow and grief/stressed by what the toil has tied me to/
a yoke of blood and the weeping flies. All-droop
the black leaking/the drip of wet dust being born. Sun,
the magic sleeper roofed-out and black. Black again
men’s hearts/winter hearts/bags of breathless black.
First spring snowdrop from my iris-eye blooming here
on the concrete/its white-scented sisters a wood away.
(ii) a road of blood/a dome of cold
Like snow on the moon the cold tucked-in all glass
and weeping winter motes/a road of blood/ of red-
pepper tones tucked-up in a dome of cold. Blue,
the silent summer throats hooked and stuck. Hauled/
black salts/the wounds of weak indifference gold.
(iii) the crush of life/the food I am
A scrape/a stun/a sticking knife. The crush of life/
the food I am. Up-bent and ruined red. Red into
the sticking black. Shut-down and meat/no epitaph.
(iv) a black hole/a blue planet
Is to slow darken/is to stagger, spin.
Myself nothing/a truckload of me nothing/
a black hole of us fading. A pinhole of sky
a blue planet/an eye.
(v) an echo of light/a crimson splatter
In a place of grief – light an echo of light –
black rhythms pulse a half-death in
the glass hours of overwintering. Spring
buds a crimson splatter/blooms out
pollen-spiced/world breathing green
beyond the slaughterhouses.
(vi) their bud-fists/their black-stamens
Each bold bone rooting/forming their green spines
their bud-fists, their hidden light. Stacked-up wounds
blooming red upon red/ a season of blood-letting.
Flowers/risen-out/watercolour wounds in the spring rains.
The clavicle-curves of the tulip basins softer than bone/
their black-stamens fastened in like nails.
First published at Bone Orchard Poetry