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Bob Dellar

Rope Swing

over River Ching,
attacked by floating feral shopping trolley.

Farmers` run off,
dead river, industrial open sewer

fizzing and foaming like Jekyll`s Tincture:
canals reborn!

Thames throws up a thousand years
every time the tide recedes;

riding bikes into the Lea,
drowning maggots by the million,

thug fisherman catching
and killing.

Fighting the flow at Dobbs Weir,
streaming green-weed scent

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Southwold Sunset

Sizewell`s exploded, you said
as the dying sun
grows immense in your eyes,
and gulls collide
in the bloodshot sky.

We chance our arm and walk
harbour jetties with their
treacherous-green patina,
to ogle yachts

as rigging blocks gently toll,
and masts like giant batons conduct
the three beat measure
of an incoming tide.

Autumn can still taste summer,
so we go al fresco
at the Harbour Inn,

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Hedge Layer-Gap Mender

Hedge layer, gap-mender
forged from frost and fissured trees;
your split hazel brash
a white slash against
black wintered leaves.

Rhythm of the billhook
rhythm of the fields
deft, quick, sure,
sharpening the air
with slash, cuts and

stakes spear shaped, stuck notched
crooked up, tawny bark
peeled green in places,
hint of dormant
summer traces.

Wood rips, wood rends, wood gives,
wood cries out as far as the far fields;

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In a Field on May Day

We lay within a bright yellow smear
of buttercups in a damp field in Suffolk
edged with Chantilly umbels of cow parsley
and our head and heart race ahead of themselves
as a May-Day wind that's half winter half summer
raises a swathe of goose bumps on your slight slim arms
that suddenly clamp the nape of my neck to crush
my face to yours and through my nostrils I can smell your
clean mouth and the old bonfire circle that's spiked with poppy seedlings celebrating the good fortune of their mineral rich home and in June their dark cherry plum flowers will slow passing cars and numb mouthed I break away first and fling myself down amongst the buttercups to study the tiny scattered brains of worm casts.

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Jarred`s Daughter

Your wife wants:

this time it`s chickens.
So you winged a coop from wood and wire
for her birthday. You found a supplier
a farm near Ely, and the A10 fed you to The Fens.

Jarred`s Farm is a listing wreck

on a black claggy sea.
A faded wooden chicken leans,
propped and peeling by a front porch
that drips creeper in scarlet entrails.

The air is different here:

somehow sickly, like a mildewed echo
of marsh and stinging grey mist.
But it`s the sky`s bone-clinic whiteness
that quietly smothers you.

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Goodbye Robert

You were fourteen when you showed me off
to your mates, and one whose hair I pulled
when she came too close but never came
close again, laughed when you told her

you`d pulled my arm out of its socket
when restraining me during a
Rumpelstiltskin foot stomper-
the first of our many dislocations.

I chucked your soap on a rope
over the back fence onto the
Liverpool Street Line, at a train actually,
but missed, my arms too short for a serious lob;

and one dark night I wandered into your room,
(as Steve McQueen looked on,
blue-eyed and bemused) ,
and peed on your new sheepskin rug

[...] Read more

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