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Anna has never kept ducks               Sunday in Nice

         Dance with the sky           Whatever grey is


Anna has never kept ducks


Anna has never kept ducks, has friends who own

only a king-size bed and a black 'Glide she covets

to ride solo across the Painted Desert.


Afraid of heights she's walked Striding Edge

climbed a jack-in-the-beanstalk ladder  

vertical up a face in the Puye Cliffs


and relaxing in bergamot fragrant suds

she ponders a home far from the city  

and bookshops, the music, cafes,

friends she meets week-ends in galleries

with glass roofs and staircases

where she rarely thinks of the cave

by the river ghosting her mind

like the eyes of that seal in Wales,

the smells of a bluebell wood in spring.


She'll make extensions of wood and glass

and mud to her forever-home


will read and paint, write strange, startling phrases.

On drizzly nights she'll gaze at moons and galaxies

through glass, on soft dry evenings stretch beside

the waterfall, whispering with owls and birch trees,

chuckling as otters slide mud-glossy slopes

and foxes leap and yelp, unable to reach  

the tree-house she built for her ducks.


Joan Poulson

first published in Univ of Central Lancs

Home anthology, 2007



Sunday in Nice


The sea and promenade plucked

from a Dufy canvas

light and azure as a cherub in flight

but overhead, gulls try to convince us

they're vultures

and at the next table

a dog displays an alarming tic.


Joan Poulson

first published in Ambit, 2007




Dance with the sky


Baker's Lane and Bread Street substantial

enough but we don't expect a greeting

from the man pushing a wheelbarrow

of grain up to the old brewery.


You showed me painted angels

with wings like falcons

poised above the cathedral nave.

No surprise to see one here, swinging his legs

from a sturdy oak rafter in the tythe barn.


Giant yew teacups hover, skimming

the lawn's surface.

They're evenly spaced and ready for the tea-party.

It will probably be dark by then.


There is something to ferret out, an answer

to find but I'm unable to track the clues.


A man leans over the half-door

of his maltsters home, fizz of snowy hair

and broad grin hinting at Lewis Carroll.


It's almost mid-day but stars: insubstantial

as snail-trails, fiery as dreams, dance with the sky.

They died before the first hut of this village

was made, before the Pobble came.


The air is sweet and nutty.

Centuries ago the abbots of Glastonbury

summered here.


Old man's beard and blackthorn,

enormous balls of mistletoe rung-up like bells

in all the apple trees, held in balance.


I shall sit in the bell tower this evening

as you practise, my feet together and still

as an angel so I'm not snatched up by a sally,

hurled from the open top of the tower.


Joan Poulson

first published in OSIRIS,  USA, 2006




Whatever grey is

                        (for Hedwig Brouckaert)


whatever grey is it isn't black

or a white mouse

it isn't a field

or a buzzard

it isn't the mouth of a carp

or catfish

and it isn't an anaconda


grey is skyonskyonsky

wrapped in grey I am safe


am all that is


and the fizz and sparkle of a firework

the flame and the scarlet

and the sequin-light slippers

the mosses in the forest

the snail the lily bud


people who trudge and shuffle

who pass me by



have not recognised

that the skin on my neck is smiling

the muscle of my mind boogies.


Joan Poulson

first published in The Long Islander, USA, 2006


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