for David Sully
The earth in pencil, improvised, one tree
after another drawn from the blank page.
A whole thicket emerging out of doubt.
One line carves out a branch, a bole, a copse,
then turns to summon stump and Domesday oak.
A spike of hawthorn, loop of mistletoe.
Here’s snow where shadows lift back into light.
A smudge of crows. A swift surge of dashes,
sudden rain lashing the morning sideways.
He’s not drawing the one tree or the bird
but the slow fugue between them and the wind,
wood and wing registering the difference
between bark and feather. Time’s on this bench
watching for flights of goldfinch, tit, fieldfare.
These small black marks equal green woodpeckers.
Here’s conifers I walked by yesterday,
these hasty scrawls my boots and anorak,
my feet in mud, a smell of pine-needles.
And where the graphite’s gently rubbed away
until the paper’s almost white again,
that moment when the winter sun broke through.
Published, September 2014 in the poetry pamphlet Rosie Jackson ‘What the Ground Holds’ by Poetry Salzburg (click to view…)