10K, from "American Shadow" Smith Doorstop, 2010 and "Tambourine" a Cardiff Competition prize winner 2010 – Jackie Kay and Zoe Skoulding said " it gracefully explores the spaces in language…"
Just as autumn gave way to winter
As the leaves fell open and lifted
Like momentary magic carpets,
Along the lines of hedges and verges
Past closed gates and badly fenced fields
Over pavements and cinder paths we ran
Weightless, the pea in the whistle,
Under sky and street lights and always
The night air hovered like a promise
And left its metal on our lips.
We ran though nobody came or went
And the trees and the night birds made no comment
And the only sound was our feet in the road
That seemed to make the earth move.
Indoors people ate, checked their mail
flicked channels, made love or slept
And all the while you were with me
Counting out rhythm on the hills.
I was trying to tell you something about the brittle winter,
about the snow that came down and changed everything
in the city streets, how they went quiet, we were all quiet
and the whiteness stood like an old collective noun for kindness
or something people feel for each other when they are trying not to fall
but also to walk in a way that says look at the light,
look at the beauty in the light and how it makes even the dirty
violet, how it shows me that other girl, the shiny, good girl
whose eyes are bright discs that quiver in their sockets.
I heard that every sound ever made is out there,
private sounds, the shapes of words we put together
occupying space, like snowflakes, spoken snowflakes all over the sky ?
I think maybe snow is like sound and space
like saying and not saying and I was trying to tell you something
I had figured out about forgiveness and the way it can
suddenly descend and how like absolution you can’t make it happen
but you have to really know it, really feel it and then all that matters is
getting home and I was trying to tell you that today I walked for miles
amongst the new fall, staring at the flakes melting on my skin
but you had stopped listening so I picked up the red tambourine
you bought me at Hessy’s and wrapped in tissue paper that Christmas,
you who doesn’t like clatter, who prefers stillness, bought me
a percussion grade Stagg, and there I was finally come home,
applauding with 36 mini-cymbals, rattle-handing all over the place.
I think maybe today was a day you had waited for. Thank you
for my tambourine. There is nothing I can tell you about winter.
and here’s Livingstone – part of the African poems – Carol Ann Duffy chose it at Bridport
You’re coming to the end.
You can hear and breathe Victoria
Before you get there. Mossi oa Tunya
The smoke that falls. The dust darkens
And the trees and grasses are greener here.
This is Eden.
As you ride, three a breast over the old iron bridge
You want this country to enfold you, to be held here
At the summit of your effort.
Not liking heights, you, my love, hang back
But someone takes your hand and pulls you to the edge
To watch the men who paid to bungee jump. It’s not the jump
But the waiting on the rope that scares you. Africa.
This is surely where and how it all began.