from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Red Poppy: Susie Shelley

Today's poet from the Two Rivers anthology Confluence is Susie Shelley. What to say about Susie? I guess one of her most striking characteristics is how at home she is on the earth; and how equally at home in the water (she is a diver). And more recently she has been having flying lessons; so that now, like the best kind of waterbird, she is at home in three elements.

Some of the things I like about the poem of hers I've chosen: the powerful simplicity of its passion; the abundance of concrete detail which allows us as reader to conjure the scene; the lack of capitalisation and punctuation, and especially end-stopping, that allows the poem to run off the page and into that wet meadow, and we follow it.

The Red Poppy

So today it rains

there is nothing so beautiful
as summer rain
when you stand, hot-blooded
your back against a tree
with your lover pressed hard against you
turn your lips up to his kiss
and feel the gentle trickle of water
stroking your face
feel his breath
on your forehead
as he caresses your damp hair

and when the storm increases
how being soaked to the skin
makes stripping his drenched shirt and peeling your blouse
even more sensational
the hot charge of his flesh
the rain stinging his back, your face

how your small fingers slip easily into his wet hands
how you must stay this close, forever
or until the sun breaks through

then to lie in the long grass
steaming in the sudden heat
your cheek resting on his bare shoulder

the red poppy stunning
against a blue sky
Susie Shelley

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