“Sequence in Green” and other poems by Gillian Prew

Sequence in Green

(i) breaths

Like in lights/breaths		the woodwind song
meets the trees. A green growth/
a rush of roots/	   birds.

	Summer-swell/the flowered edges
of day breaking.

(ii) buds

Hills of green shadow and butter-gorse.

	The dead
made of dry stalks
with all their buds inside them.

(iii) bones

Green lifts and stitches-in	Perfumes/ 
summering		Silver-back
gull, wind-scuffed, sun-buried/ 	

with a still-feathered skull, 

each puffed-out wing fragrant with oxygen/
each jade-eye a salty stone

	peering keen

to the wound of the shore
sown with olive pods polished as knuckle bones.

(iv) blood

Emerald, in your daybed of flowers
trapping all the shucked-light of the sun
as sugar/as oxygen/
as diamonds/
as blood.

Ideogram for Red

after Alice Oswald

In a shadow, an invisible red
where the first flower sounds.

 and red-through in all directions.

Underfoot - roots.	

Blood. A claw of wood.

Red becomes a red-rush/ the flash of a robin’s breast
in a splay of autumn blades.

	Red rising with the sun/
without bearings         vanishing 
in the outbloom of light.

Struggling, like each colour to be seen
red bursts with the fury of a firework	  	folds herself
	into herself

fails for a season.

Sequence in Green is © Gillian Prew


from The Black Stanzas

(i) a yoke of blood/my iris-eye

Too narrow and grief/stressed by what the toil has tied me to/
a yoke of blood and the weeping flies. All-droop
the black leaking/the drip of wet dust being born. Sun,
the magic sleeper roofed-out and black. Black again
men’s hearts/winter hearts/bags of breathless black.
First spring snowdrop from my iris-eye blooming here
on the concrete/its white-scented sisters a wood away.

(ii) a road of blood/a dome of cold

Like snow on the moon the cold tucked-in all glass
and weeping winter motes/a road of blood/ of red-
pepper tones tucked-up in a dome of cold. Blue,
the silent summer throats hooked and stuck. Hauled/
black salts/the wounds of weak indifference gold.

(iii) the crush of life/the food I am

A scrape/a stun/a sticking knife. The crush of life/
the food I am. Up-bent and ruined red. Red into
the sticking black. Shut-down and meat/no epitaph.

(iv) a black hole/a blue planet

Is to slow darken/is to stagger,                 spin.
Myself nothing/a truckload of me nothing/
a black hole of us fading. A pinhole of sky
a blue planet/an eye.

(v) an echo of light/a crimson splatter

In a place of grief – light an echo of light –
black rhythms pulse a half-death in
the glass hours of overwintering. Spring
buds a crimson splatter/blooms out
pollen-spiced/world breathing green
beyond the slaughterhouses.

(vi) their bud-fists/their black-stamens

Each bold bone rooting/forming their green spines
their bud-fists, their hidden light. Stacked-up wounds
blooming red upon red/ a season of blood-letting.
Flowers/risen-out/watercolour wounds in the spring rains.
The clavicle-curves of the tulip basins softer than bone/
their black-stamens fastened in like nails.
First published at Bone Orchard Poetry


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