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‘Cambridge’ and two more poems.





he poured the sherry
was it before or after,
had Mr Oppen been
in such an establishment before
this was 12 years before
he died and I was a
young boy. There was
a letter after a few years
just before the dog ran
in front of a car and the
words settled on the paper
it made you think
of fleeing like he did
as you cycled down
Stoney Lane and saw
rain falling in the distance
I don’t think everybody had
sherry it was all rather
daunting, once home I
invested some of the
little money I had
in a book of poems

One Single Ingredient

at the window
falls on the fallow earth
one small brown bird
and a single crow
on a leafless tree
your image returns to me

captures a world
and sinks with it
toiling and toiling
passed meadows
I told you
O let me weep
with the water-birds, forever

the pillows dotted with sleep
you talk softly, measured
I turn one more page
you’re still there
pink toy in the bath

At the end of the day

we turn away
and drive across the golf course
towards the sea and
the estuary opening

the lips are clam shut
leaving a delicate
pheromone trail

the day’s sinking light pins
eyes to the tarmac

they will rise again
over the headland
and return to the castle

there gold will strike at
the grey stone
like buttering a Welsh cake

the networks of
a fragile economy
open up leaving
a slime trail on the
draining board,
a dream of lettuce

we circle the ring road
seeing the red neon
flash warnings

still now, calm
a nocturne
settles on the fallow fields
the hillsides dotted
with the sleep of sheep

Ralph Hawkins’ latest publication is leaf o little leaf (Oystercatcher Press 2019).

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