Site Patron: Andrew Motion
14th October: The Book of Love and Loss, eds R V Bailey & June Hall is out…! (link to follow)
196 poets including laureates and the best-known/best-loved names in poetry today. Hardback. Not just a fine collection
but also to be the best-selling source book for funerals, memorials and other special occasions. 387 poems, of which 114
are by 48 poetry p f members… 50p from every copy sold goes to Parkinson’s Reasearch.
Kent & Sussex
Anne Stewart (Birthday)
Katherine Gallagher (Anytime)
As insubstantial as the suitcase
in the hand of this refugee chasing his dream, hesitating,
the stork’s nest loose in the wind on the boundary
where thoughts alter, bringing his alien brood,
so close to his childhood’s river he could spit
across, examined by this Czec Officer,
his throat cannot define sounds.
He had not expected to see this. His dreams have not yet
caught up with unpacking. Open up, says this Officer,
in polished bright uniform, smile and split shoes.
This refugee with sore feet, wife and children
clamouring like storks, the nest floating
downstream behind him, falters.
On his wife’s face the translucence of frost. The surface
hangs from his cardboard suitcase. He undoes
the uneven buckle. This suitcase has been
through three uprisings, it’s his life,
his son has his stork feather inside,
the strap has frayed at the end.
He opens his suitcase. This air, this dwindling river
cannot harm. Customs will not unpack this
blurring of wings scattering snowstorms.
He almost drops his folded documents,
unearthing double headed eagles.
Customs must let them return.
His mouth is dry as the air in his suitcase. He coughs,
thinking of aunt’s pork dripping. How can he hope
to retain the childhood dreams of his country.
He thinks of the stork following her nest
bumping onto the shore, caught up
by a branch.
He has to wait,
has to walk up the stony street with his white-faced family,
pass the tall gates, the cross, the white church walls,
his family linden tree, enter the shuttered house,
the inner courtyard. If the Officer unpicks
patchwork documents, let the stork
beat her avalanche of wings.