Words for Mud

We trampled under re-tugged hoods
across even wetter exposed ground
like low-eyed parlour-set cattle

both of us making that slab slurp
as we pulled our sucked heels
from immeasurable puddles

Stoach – was it uttered as mud
and air and boots glued? – stoach
and slab – discarded once-words

now rarely spoken – only by smeery
glazes – by worn pathways
There Wealden clay will complain

as hill-walked hours wear it away
Time will eventually reverse to tell
what truly lies beneath our feet

Then all our losses will be obvious –
no flights – no travel – no sinking islands
on TV – we are making errors here

Lost For Words

A conqueror’s high esteem
of varied Pevensey shellfish

is marked up – still to this day –
when out catching pandles

Sussex’s fathoming in
Latin’s infectiousness – off pandalus

But reducing – a word in decline
in this part of the country

Something to do with grammar
schools and formal education?

There is no local voice
or old inflection –

no dialect in
our National Curriculum –
surelye

War Poets

Paul Verlaine’s Chanson d’automne
was coded – still popular poetry –
to give notice –

his long sobs of French-sung violins
declared an Allied invasion
to those listening

Whilst she never understood speeches
of love – and our common
mistakes –

I would rarely read to her – she rarely read
my mutterings – my weight-pared
compositions

She never understood what was being said
She found poetry too difficult
her own résistance


Such Dug Up Stuff

I could bite on Mr Heaney’s
lust-sight of her

of lost flesh

of navvy-dug amber nipples

under hard-weighed stones
over her cracked oak-bones

which are not
my spoken words

Language is not my tight weave
of Sussex-ness

no fluttergrub’s spade
to turn my empty laine of chalkland

His words are kissed intimacies
in his Castledawson rooting –
in peat-dug dampness
of vowel-soundings

If only we could speak such –
with such – reverence and blind love
of a long-buried bog-stickiness –

then this would be my
other language –
one not yet fully known