Poems: 'Formica Exsecta'/'Halcyon Days'/ Published in Dark Mountain - Eight Fires. Autumn 2023



Formica Exsecta 


I am Winter’s Ant, curled inside resinous lengths of halfDark-halfLight, quiet beneath press of snow. I am mighty articulations of queendom, horizons of presence. I am at rest. I bear the scars of intervention: have been dug and turned over; have been caught, barrowed, exiled. Like all of my kind I have focus. I aim. I. Am. I am queen of between; I reign over the light that gets through the cracks. I am free-choice and dawn-struck wings. I rest now so that I can strive and reach and aim. Again and again. So that my wings – those fierce opacities – may raise me to my mate, my mates, in thick summer air. I am passion. I am pine-besotted, needling, flickering. I am survival aroused. I am the crackle of polyamory. I am sun-spilt and sun-shared amongst wee-est, feistiest limbs. I tremble to the tune of eternity. I outlive, outwit, outshine. I radiate wings and sunlove. I shape eggs. I am queen, ruler of new colonies, integrator of genius and verve. I am Winter’s antidote to shadow.


 Halcyon Days


Here, where your feet stop, you smell deer,

their lain-on beds circle warmth

in the red winter behind your eyes.


On a simple skyline two hinds chase a fence,

dusk draws light into sodden bracken

until it burns.




Another hill, another day, silence hisses 

slim sounds you can’t untangle.


A stag, four calves, seven hinds graze 

chest-height on bog-myrtle shoots


The backward of the rifle’s safety catch –

tiny tick of metal-on-metal – drills into peace,

stills long jaws, lifts heads, drives bodies-minds-ears

wide away beyond bullet


faces look back taking everything in –

you are there, small as the metal tongue-click

you breathed into the silence

like ash from a fire.




On another day in a narrow glen

your fingers trace deer carved in stone.


Soon the wind will be back,

lifting fears like woodcock from ditches,

ripping grass, blowing deer-coats to a blaze.