GMB 20thAnniversary Poems

GMB 20th anniversary

The Blessing

Here, now

Gold Diggers

Between Time

Left behind by others, we notice more.

The Blessing

The old leather chair
still faces the font.

Votives to Our Lady
burn in the window arch.

Outside, coats clutched
against freezing rain.

Inside, the wind-weary are sprinkled
three drops
from the smooth,
stone bowl.

Water, body and blood.

Poem, Gabrielle Barnby, George Mackay Brown 20th, Gabrielle Barnby, book launch, No separation, Alison Gray

Gold Diggers

The crow’s gold:
among hollow bones
and earth stripped bare,
the marrowless death of winter.

The poet’s gold:
among bright constellations
and fallow earth,
the hidden Bethlehem.

The fleeting-glinting speck,
hungrily gathered
and brought back home,
the great and glorious feast.

Here, now

Sundial houses mark the time
And yellow-propellered flowers beckon the morning
And we stand, drinking in the mirage of land in sea
And parcel away the winter past
And prepare fresh store for the next
And a blackbird dances on the lawn
And sharp white wings circle above
And the tractors fetch another bale
And soon enough, last year’s orphans will be blind with joy.

Between Time

On the lane down to the water,
horse and rider give way to passing car.
A tractor hauls a boat on the slipway,
rudely spouting water.

Two boys,
one with a line
another a scooter,
kill time on the stinking geo,
their eyes scanning the seaweed nooses.

Eastwards, a chunk of prism
stretches into ribbon fit for merry dancers.

A man arrives, dogs at his heel,
claws tap over the salted concrete.

“Shall we call it a day?”
“Yes, a day!”
“What a day!”
the boys reply.

Unaware of misunderstanding they follow;
the boys with sea-pink cheeks,
braving spittle from sea and sky,
not minding washed up stones
and weeping cliffs.

Not yearning,
not waiting,
every day their daffodil time.

Left behind by the others, we notice more.

For Christopher

Barley field soldiers
from last harvest,
erect golden hairs
on a bare arm of earth,
each stalk
muddy grey at the base,
each glorying in
low gold light.
And you see,
“…tiny people
millions of them…”
My child,
my dear one,
who warms my cold hand,
rubbing quickly
with the oversized gloves
that I gave to heal
the hurt
of a sudden speed-glorious moment
that ended in a fall.
Little soldier
in my warm gloves.
Yes, it is hard that you are no longer
small enough to carry.

Orkney Harbour by Gabrielle Barnby
Gabrielle Barnby