Less than a Day from April

Winter's Not Gone


Less than a day from April,

The wax white, compact

Hyacinth is up.

And petals in a sky


Trailing a fringe of drizzle,

Cling to the gusty almond.

Daffodil clumps are swept

Like weed combed by a brook.


The loam underfoot is mish-mash

Pasted over with oakleaf.

Knocked-about drives with potholes

Go where the barns moulder.


Pert above waterlogged gravel,

Blue tits flit at table;

Woodpeckers cheerfully hammer

Cantankerous morning together.


Lichen stains the leeside

Of boles near draughty marshes

Where nothing but walkable tussocks

And adequate boots make a passage.


Anchored by only their shadows

Cast on the fields’ floor,

Armadas of cumulus-nimbus

Ride in the sun’s glare.

*    *    *

From the mildewed seams of a rag-doll’s

Ill-stitched, lenient thighs,

Rotting apart since August

By the concrete military road,


Hair sprouts as the shoots do;

Minuscule ivy glides

Among the fizzy parsleys

And the embryonic grasses.


Less than a day from April,

Odd leaves are stuck

Where they first were blown

Onto the hedges: a hawk


Spies upon pasture edged

By birches lozenge-clad

In criss-cross net,

And spangled at the garter;


Lifting a sheer leg,

Stretching into the fingers

Of twigs turning red

Behind the trim estate.


Caught in the wrecked masts

Of last year’s thistles,

Aghast blown skirls

Spill from the rear trestles


In gardens back to back:

Radio 1 and a chain-saw

Attack and counter-attack

Children curdling blood;


While tendrilly vibrations

With dwarf orange balls

Offset brick walls

And camouflage the eyesore.


But garages padlock hardware;

For Primrose Way’s Elect,

City-employed and gerbilled,

Are all too easily burgled.

*    *    *

Less than a day from April,

The ‘pressure cooker’ effect

Builds in the twigs and the neighbour

Just on the brink of sobriety.


A hedgerow high society,

Less than an hour from the centre;

Saved by its Alps and Bahamas

From merely English winter.


A countrified sort of urbanity,

Seen on a dark afternoon

As the stamp of our national sanity.

Prunus blossom in porcelain


Falls on the splintering ice there

Beneath its unglazed biscuit

On the sideboard where each sits it,

Which is actually not Formica.


From a pamphlet published by John Welch’s Many Press in 1984 with a wonderful cover by Peter Tingey. I have just a few copies left.

About anthonyhowelljournal

Poet, essayist, dancer, performance artist....
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Less than a Day from April

  1. Dilys Bidewell says:

    Terrific poem! Enjoyed re-reading – thanks for sending, Anthony.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

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