The fork garden is planted by hallmark,
by taxonomic value from the tines down.
Frost plates the handle, silver lip
at the edge of soil, dug out in winter,
dug out of winter, bringing up
root and louse. If dirt bound
and iced in the fork turns to steel and only
black booted heels
can loosen the slim fingers bred
in by four: One for each direction,
saying this is now the world.
A little gilt made solid, now the handle,
a silver tongue, worth something
to someone and difficult to hold.
Andrea Holland has two collections of poetry, Broadcasting (Gatehouse Press) winner of the Norfolk Commission for Poetry and Borrowed (Smith/Doorstop). She teaches creative writing at UEA and tutors privately. Her new collection is set in New York in the 1980’s.
Yes, the universe can fit in the palm of my hand
every year we hang moons and stars
on Christmas tree branches –
the stars are mostly bigger than the moons
no understanding of perspective can correct this
I’ve collected as many moons as Jupiter –
chunky saffron stained wood
ceramic with a hint of hairy face
tacky gold like old milk-bottle tops
they are all crescent moons – as if the world
only knows how to wane at Christmas
can only be a thin sliver of itself
between the darknesses of solstice
when I was a child moon and stars meant
the embroidery on a midnight velvet skating dress
my best friend wore
yellow waxy crayons in the drawing box;
no-one thought to look up and see the moon’s
real face – like pitted bone
today we wrap each false and jaunty slice
we believe they shine like unseen gods
in our roofspace
that passerbys will say
Look! they are keeping the whole universe safe
for another year.
Sue Burge is a freelance creative writing and film studies tutor based in Norfolk. Her first collection In the Kingdom of Shadows (Live Canon) and debut pamphlet Lumière (Hedgehog Poetry Press) were published in 2018, her second pamphlet The Saltwater Diaries (Hedgehog Poetry Press) in 2020. More information at www.sueburge.uk
When you are all spikes and edges
consider the holly. Her dark gloss
is a lacquered surface, French polished;
her berries blood-red temptations for birds.
So long as you don’t step on her
or grab a fallen leaf unwarily,
she’ll not hurt. She looks serene.
Her hedges are castle walls,
protective, thick and cool.
Angela Topping is the author of 8 collections and 4 pamphlets, all with reputable publishers. Her work has appeared in anthologies, a range of journals including Poetry Review, Magma, The Dark Horse and The North, and has featured on BBC Radio’s Poetry Please.
Note: Holly was first published on The Beach Hut website with a different title