Another poem from Alasdair Paterson’s Brumaire and Later – see ‘Watercress’ and ‘Goose’ below for the context. Paterson’s writing in this pamphlet – for all the anguish of its subject, and often ripe-to-rotten richness of its imagery – has such clarity, like cool mountain water held in a wooden tub.

//

The first of the month,
the day named Apple,
pigs were fattening
as usual on the windfalls,
the sauce was thickening nicely,
when fog came down like white mourning,
like a mountebank’s trick hankie.

Then it was a morning
to spin you around;
so by the time you looked again
how strange and sharp
the landscape’s edges had turned,
how many stumbled into them.

But for others it was sweet,
sweeter than orchards to bite
into our time, our element at last.
To hear like a new-delivered pulse
the calendar’s muffled drum.
To walk sure-footed in the dim russet.
To unwrap the weapons.

//

[Read in Brumaire and Later, published by Flarestack Poets.]