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Seasoned               Bird's Eye

        Windy's House                       And Still the Stones




Horse Chestnuts are the first to go, golden leaves.

Then Sycamore, contrasts, crimson,

Plasma one drop every fifteen seconds.

Iron to red and back again, all the stages between.

Chartreuse, ochre, platelets.

I am leafing through changes,

picking up the fallen ones.

Mystery tours, on, off the grounds, or just,

Look at that brushstroke, yellow dabbling with green.

Look at the light. Listen.

Never again that leaf to fall.

Never again that leaf.


Judi Benson

first published in City Lighthouse anthology, 2009,

tall-lighthouse, ISBN 978-1-9045515-8-4



Bird’s Eye


My day begins with copulation,

lying on my back studying clouds,

watching gulls on the rooftop across the way.

Oh they’ve got their foreplay,

as close as beak-ed things come to kissing.

Peck-pecking, doing a dainty dance around

each other in that almost-flamenco way.

As close as they get to hugging, and so and so.

Tap tap, slap slap on the tiles awhile,

then enough of that, as he takes off, graceful lands atop her,

a showy span of white wing,

doing the jiggery-pokery thing.

She’s uninvolved, looking down at her feet,

thinking she needs to see a podiatrist, psychiatrist.

It’s all too much,

all this fuss and feathers

just to end up sitting on a nest

like all the rest. Common, one of the flock.


Judi Benson

first published in Not Just Words - One Word Sonnets and Other Words,
an anthology of patients' and staff writing, 2006,
Dumfries and Galloway Health Board, ISBN 1-899316-38-8.




Windy's House
(for my sisters)


Smell of banana bread

warming itself to golden brown

moist inside, walnuts,

the ones baby Sally always picks out.  

Old wood and eucalyptus, steady thud

of grandfather's clock, the lazy pendulum.  

Coffee on the drip.  A sea of calm

drifts through you, the quiet that comes

when you know you're home, safe place

where you can or not be

as still as that squirrel

on the branch of the mossy oak.  

The piano plays ragtime in another room,

switches to a lullaby, shushing

all the bad dreams

back into the cotton sweet closet.  

You know where you are in the soft bed,

the same paintings, same photographs,

all your life, all their voices.  

You won't want to leave this place, ever.  

A sister's love will wrap such strong arms

around you, murmur, it's okay, it's all right

and for a flash of a moment you believe her,

your life depends on it.


Judi Benson

first published in anthology, Reflecting Families,  (ed Judith Chernaik) and broadcast in the BBC World Service programme Head First, 1999
in collection, Call It Blue, The Rockingham Press, 2000,
ISBN No. 1 873468 75 x




And Still the Stones


The house shrinks and stretches,

sighs at night creaking the floorboards,

top of the house, crow's nest,

light and air, walls bare.  

Slice of heaven we agreed,

lazy rocking evenings,

day's work done, ascending

to meet the sun, watch it go down

in a smother of clouds.  

Some laws of nature still persist.  

Sod's law, the rain on your parade,

your barbecue, wedding, laundry,

deck chair, bacci, papers.  

The minutiae of it all.  Things.  

What are they without people

but relics to be studied by archaeologists.  

A ribbon surviving flesh, faint lavender.  

A shank of auburn hair without a head.  

Gallstones in a jar, his and hers.  

Note:  his were bigger than his mum's.  

Curiosities to be puzzled over

trying to put it all together.  What sense?  

Yes, I still take stones

to your grave site to confuse them.  

Pink toned, blue grey, granite.  

Stones from Alderney, Carteret, Cromer,

Norwich, Aldeburgh, Duluth, Dartmoor, Leide,

a cobblestone from Praha

that I'd like to think Mozart stubbed his toe on,

that tripped Kafka, who swore as I did,

the third time round.  Round and round,

lost amongst the ever changing streets.


this poem and others is available for listening to at "Writers' Hub", Podcast

Judi Benson

first published in The Tall-Lighthouse Review,

December 2004  (ed. Les Robinson),  ISBN No. 1 904551 19 X


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