About sarahsouthwest

I'm now in my early 50s. I started writing again as a way of exploring the world, and feel that over the last 2 years I have really grown as a writer. By day I work with children and young people with mental health difficulties. I juggle my own two children, my work, my writing practice, generally managing to keep all the balls up in the air.

This marriage thing – quadrille for dVerse

I am
blotter smudger scrawler
you are
the reader of instructions
the careful butterer of toast
you
measure twice cut once
I
spill the milk I lose my keys I fumble

yet, somehow,
in this clash
we found a way
to build a home

A quadrille for dVerse – the word is “smudge”. Thank you, Mish.

Rooks at twilight

We are waiting for the rooks to rise
the way they rise each evening
the way they rise as the light falls
the way they rise as one
rolling bowling calling squalling roiling boiling swirling whirling
mass of birds
wings spread like hands
against the darkening sky
circling once
twice
then settling again
black leaves
black fruit
black birds
carved out of nothingness

and I wonder what stories
they tell themselves
about how it is
to be a rook.

For Lill at dVerse OLN.

Thrill

I was always…….teetering
drawn to the edge…

where safety ends
and danger…….. starts

I liked………I feared
the air under my hands

waves……..crashing

the swooping gulls
the dip slip flip……..of my belly

I was caught……..by my own gaze

I swayed………..stayed safe
through luck……not care

until you reached……..for me
your arms…….my rope

my safety…….your love

dVerse has a guest host tonight. A poem about risk, for Tricia Sankey.

Apple

I’ve peeled so many apples now
my hands know the firm roundness of them,
the movement of the blade around them —
a sharp satellite, trailing yellow juice.

I cut from stem to calyx, downwards:
the knife runs cleanly through.
There is a wholesomeness to apples:
the white flesh crisp, fine-grained,
the sweet, sharp scent. The skin.

I’m echoing older, defter hands –
All Hallows spiral; petals sliced
from fine white apple-flesh,
fanned out and sugared,
blanketed in dough or pastry,
motherhood enfleshed, enmeshed;
the shimmering crescents splayed
beside a piece of cheese. I know
you cut along those lines
of longitude, stem down to calyx,

but sometimes, secretly, the witch in me
slices across the apple’s midriff,
just to view the secret star
all apples hold inside them.

Just to remind myself it’s there.

A fruity little number for Kim at dVerse

The art of cutting back

This is our craft: we cut, we prune, we thin –
we carve away unnecessary stone.
We open up the space that lets the light flow in.

We card the wool, we comb it, and we spin
stories. And then we cut them to the bone.
This is our craft. We cut, we prune, we thin.

We paint our canvases, we keep the colour thin,
as if the shadows that we see have blown
and opened up the space that lets the light flow in.

We write our poems, verses clear as gin,
and cool as ice, compact as cherry stones:
This is our craft; we cut, we prune, we thin.

We prune our orchards, treat our trees as kin,
we tend to them because they are our own,
we open up the space that lets the light flow in.

We are the guardians, firm against the wind
that breaks and tears, that seeks to overthrow –
this is our craft – we cut – we prune – we thin –
we open up the space that lets the light flow in.

For Brendan at earthweal. I thought I’d write a villanelle, as that feels like a crafted form.

I’m also putting it up for Laura’s dVerse prompt on repetition. Do check out both prompts – both are consistently interesting, exciting and inspiring!

Sanctuary

The slap slap slap
of wood pigeon
dropping, then rising
from the pine tree
reminds us that we
are only visiting.

This blue wood
is ours for one more week
before our neighbour
runs his bullocks here:
earth-heavy, slow,
they are the guardians
of these sacred groves.

We are just visiting,
drinking in scent,
our footsteps murmuring
prayers to the
angled sunlight.
We whisper here.

An owl spreads silence.
We are watching,
gazing, all eyes;
all ears; all sense
opened up. Tjese
dappled spaces
form our sanctuary.

For Brendan at earthweal. I’m back. Sort of.

Listening to my body

My body is talking again. My lungs
are whispering secrets. My heart
says “what? what? what?”
but my lungs have each other.
They keep on whispering.
My feet want to tell the story
of the day. They are always working,
they grumble. My thighs
just roll their eyes. They know.
My stomach is quiet,
he’s listening. Sometimes he
grumbles like a toddler,
sometimes he snores
like an old man, but tonight
he’s quiet. All the long,
slithery length of guts
is neatly packed away, sleeping
like a drawer of underwear,
and my lungs keep whispering.
My bones know something,
they feel it, but they don’t say
anything, they can’t quite name it.
They keep straight backs,
stiff upper lips. They keep
their gaze ahead, but my lungs,
ah, my lungs keep whispering
their secrets.

A body poem for Grace at dVerse

Wine

I’m yearning to sit
in a golden square
in the late afternoon light,
in that warm silence
that comes out of love
and needs no words.
I’m longing for a sip
of yellow wine, cold,
with condensation forming
on the curving glass.

It’s Monday, it’s quadrille night at dVerse, and Linda has given us the word “wine” to play with.