Poetry: Bike/Sick Bed/Frying Pan

Published in Dreich Extra WINTER, December 2020




‘Darling, don’t be a bike’

Mum said to me on the phone

a long time ago


I was going on a date

with a good man

but that’s by the by.


Six syllables spilling over me as I walk upriver

against rain, trace a white-throated dipper 

drowning itself in torrents of wind


wet rock raises lichen into fierce relief

Mum’s colours: peacock, russet, gold, oxidised blood. She’s been dead 

a decade, the river is coming on strong, I hunker down


by the pool they call The Pot where sea trout leapt last summer 

sheer silhouettes of muscle and drive

today my eyes are lost in white miasma


veils of rock-spun water hiding the secrets between 

that could sink you to sick

turn you pure snow-melt green 


to be water-flung

spittle and spit and spawn 

to be fallen.


What mattered was the sting in the ‘darling’.




Screeds of hail pulse past your window

cross the Cowpark among hoodies all-a-spin

the lazy-flapping sea eagle comes in

for pig guts left out on the knoll


and you in bed - slowly, poorly, you

too ill you say to be up and about

but well enough to watch the storm

to lay warm fingers on yourself


find a skudding that takes you deep

somewhere unaccountable and dark

beyond hail and mind and pig-death.




Frying Pan


Amongst chanterelle

birch leaves glitter


you burn fingers picking them out

I want to plate them in gold


for the sake of forever.


You break a hard-shelled egg

one feather fascinated to its side


breakfast    too beautiful to bear.