That Moment

there are stars in him
and suns
everything that shines
from metal in the mountainside
to the yellow scales of small bright fish
shines in him now

all this overflowing light
every raindrop in this cloud
is rainbow, mirror, lantern, lens,
doubling and doubling
until we cannot look,

until man and mist are shining as one thing
and every universe that spins
across the vast deep sky
is here

Jan Dean

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things I took and things I left

tea by the window watching a blackbird
chuck moss clumps from a gutter
beakful after beakful

dregs

the air on West Walk cold
bright as minted silver
the sea fraying at its lace edges

no footprints

the colour of that hill under the moon
milk blue and made of stars

two drops of blood by the stile

Jan Dean

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Overheard in the newsagent’s

it’s like that woman ………………….Carla something
her with the monogrammed eyebrows

I know exactly who ………………….and what
she means……………………………….love

how that dropped stitch information
has been ravelled up ……………….afresh

my mother did that ………………..always fitting
new words …………………………….to the closest match
she had in store

…………………………………………….the only milk
we ever drink ………………………..is semi-skilled

Jan Dean

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lovesong for a sleeping child

when I have combed and carded all the clouds
I’ll weave a greywhite blanket for your bed

 
when I have ravelled up the sky
I’ll spin the silk of it to soft blue sheets

 
and all the sun that gathers in the moon
will make a pillow feathered with gold light

 
the stars I’ll leave alone my love
to spin in darkness high above your head

Jan Dean

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What to do when everything tastes of stupid.

all the soup in this place    ………..is vaguely tan no matter what they call it   ………it tastes of swede stretched overheads?         …………a cook who can’t? I give it a wide berth            ………. but now discover the shepherd’s pie is flooded with it the fruit salad’s                     ………..full  of melon the wrong shade of orange rank with ghosts                  ……….. of winter fields drab clay                                ………..and  dreary sheep grazing fodder beet from sticky ground I stand up suddenly             ………..screech my chair                                ……….. along the wood block floor I’m never coming here again a shock of feathers from my feet               dance a bolt of music in my ribs                            sing I am giving up tan                ………..giving up grey by more than a sidestep this place that smells of swede            ………..right down to its Victoria sponge has seen the last of me ………………………………………………I’m out of here Jan Dean

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Recycling Ernest Dowson

she makes the paper from cotton rag
her grandmother’s sheet …………….. shredded
adds more kinds of bulk……………….stirs
the greywhite porridge ………………..with a yellow paddle
from her brother’s sea canoe

all kinds of making are journeys
she thinks ………………………………….as she riddles the deckle
lifts it dripping from the pulp……….rests it
where the vacuum sucks out water
before the paper’s pressed between soft felts

she chooses carefully …………………..someone else’s words
they are not long, the days of wine and roses
it’s August now …………………………..and raining
what she’s chosen ……………………….she embosses
in this fresh new thing still damp enough to mold

later she inks the letters ……………….soft oranges
and apricots ………………………………..strawberry red
plum yellow …………………………………before she makes the sky
indigo and lamp black ………………. …feathering it to nightclouds
dreaming a hill from the flat ground

she clothes it with woods ………………dips a pen into pale ink
white …………………………………………..green
paler than the flesh of baking apples
duller sandstone-yellow lines …………mark undershadows
substrate pulled through veins

a landscape lit by bedsheets
small things repurposed

Jan Dean

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Flick weed and other difficulties

my neighbour’s new                       ..to gardening
but believes it to be therapeutic    .works
in the NHS                                       .. psychiatrist

 
I think                                                 doesn’t know
her annuals                                     .. from perennials
still                                                       seems nice

 
I tried to help                                     she doesn’t like advice
believes                                            .. the sift of soil
through fingers                               .. is enough

 
that work will rescue                        outcome’s not important
might be something true                 in that
unless she looks back                   .. on the graft

 
when that neat line                           of seedlings crops
to bittercress                                      who wants to break their back
hairy bittercress                                 goosegrass   bugle

 
she’s got the lot                               .. forget-me-not
I have a soft spot for                        ..but it spreads
you have to watch                           …and celandine

 

I can’t think that a weed                  .it’s wildness creeping in
I understand we all                          ..leave chinks for madness
that we’re fond of                             ..but there’s limits

 
I watched her yesterday                  ..working a new bed
pouring topsoil from a barrow        spreading compost
onto undug ground                         ..she’s laying up a heap of trouble

 

you’d think a woman                       .in her line of work
would know                                   ..   there’s no use burying
weeds                                                   no use at all

Jan Dean

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