Less than a Day from April

Winter's Not Gone

BALLAD

Less than a day from April,

The wax white, compact

Hyacinth is up.

And petals in a sky

x

Trailing a fringe of drizzle,

Cling to the gusty almond.

Daffodil clumps are swept

Like weed combed by a brook.

x

The loam underfoot is mish-mash

Pasted over with oakleaf.

Knocked-about drives with potholes

Go where the barns moulder.

x

Pert above waterlogged gravel,

Blue tits flit at table;

Woodpeckers cheerfully hammer

Cantankerous morning together.

x

Lichen stains the leeside

Of boles near draughty marshes

Where nothing but walkable tussocks

And adequate boots make a passage.

x

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,

x

Hair sprouts as the shoots do;

Minuscule ivy glides

Among the fizzy parsleys

And the embryonic grasses.

x

Less than a day from April,

Odd leaves are stuck

Where they first were blown

Onto the hedges: a hawk

x

Spies upon pasture edged

By birches lozenge-clad

In criss-cross net,

And spangled at the garter;

x

Lifting a sheer leg,

Stretching into the fingers

Of twigs turning red

Behind the trim estate.

x

Caught in the wrecked masts

Of last year’s thistles,

Aghast blown skirls

Spill from the rear trestles

x

In gardens back to back:

Radio 1 and a chain-saw

Attack and counter-attack

Children curdling blood;

x

While tendrilly vibrations

With dwarf orange balls

Offset brick walls

And camouflage the eyesore.

x

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.

x

A hedgerow high society,

Less than an hour from the centre;

Saved by its Alps and Bahamas

From merely English winter.

x

A countrified sort of urbanity,

Seen on a dark afternoon

As the stamp of our national sanity.

Prunus blossom in porcelain

x

Falls on the splintering ice there

Beneath its unglazed biscuit

On the sideboard where each sits it,

Which is actually not Formica.

x

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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