Gareth Culshaw – 4 poems

A HEART SINGING IN TWO

He was on the hawthorn limb
his heart split like an egg into a frying pan
which sung out a sizzling, whistling,
that mixed with the trees swish and sigh.

He was a bird with broken love.
Double opus, dual weight,
as he waited on the hawthorn limb.

Both songs scrambled into the light
bleeping from his vociferous beak.
Whirling into the air, the unknown
trying to make his song unite with another.

🍃

CANAL WORKER

He walks towards me, his eyes dull.
Dense with passive motion.
Manipulated hooves clap the floor
applauding himself for his duty.

Mole hills of straw, leaden with dung
sit randomly along the path.
Children point, adults frown.
He carries his rear end like some backpack.

Rib cage, barrel shaped, full,
fermenting the meals of man.
Teeth ceramic tile thick, nostrils,
two tunnels that twitch, sigh.

His dozy expression lingers in my
own head. Belts, straps, a guide rope
held in the hand of a young lad.
That leads this beast up and down

the canal path. One kick could break
a man, one stamp crush a foot. But still
the lame animal walks towards me.
His hearse lumber carrying the

weight of death, death of his own kind.

🍃

I SAT ON A WINTERED BENCH

I sat on a wintered bench
dreary canal behind, old bucket water.

Canoeists came and played jostling
with tempestuous rapids from the river
down below.

I sat still on the wintered bench
my mind swimming in the river
before a usual friend came to me.

A continuation of the ones I see everywhere
else. All connected in their colour and mould.
I put my ears away and watched his coughing
throat as if he was trying to gurgle something up.

A drowning swimmer coming for air,
disturbed bubble in a spirit level,
an undecided ball in a thermometer;

Each time I see one his song runs through me
throwing out the winds of winter that are stuck.

🍃

DAFFODIL

I saw the yawn of yellow
fading back into the green.
The bulb that is sat in the earth
sucking her back down.

Her yellow features are turning
sighing into themselves.
She has accepted defeat, slides
back to, limps to her death.

I needed her to shine forever,
give me light for many years to come.
But she allowed the bulb to take her
the yawning yellow, now gasping for air.

🍃

Gareth Culshaw

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