Silver Branch series:

Becky Lowe

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Rebecca Lowe is a journalist, poet and organiser of Spoken Word events, based in Swansea, South Wales.

 

Her first poetry collection Blood and Water is published by The Seventh Quarry 

 

A further collection Our Father Eclipse was published  with Culture Matters in April 2021.

Winter Solstice

Someone pressed pause on the Sun,

as if to reset a world worn weary of waiting;

Our eyes thirst for colour to temper the monochrome,

its dulling ache of cold; the trees grown old,

A lone gull pecks for scraps at last night’s peelings

And in this space, we embrace the despond,

the roots that twist beneath our feet

where quiet thoughts can germinate,

awaiting rebirth.

M4, Southbound

Tree shadows strobing the road

dance electric to traffic trance,

interlacing lanes with leaves

 

A silver line of cars threads and weaves,

the windscreens slick with rain –

 

Small, grey

swallows

in search

of a summer.

 

(First appeared in Blood and Water,

publ. The Seventh Quarry 2020)

Dyfatty Flats

A bowling green mapped incongruously upon the scrub,

Weeds subdued to stubble; cigarette ends, glass bottles,

A broken mannequin lies abandoned behind boarded-up shops

Above which the sky hangs long and heavy,

Weltering rain through purple bruises,

The sun closes her eyes through streaks of silver,

Dreams…

The sound of a river

Crying itself to sleep.

 

(Black Bough, issue 3/ Blood and Water)

Autumn Birds

The pristine skies

are printed with birds

on the move,

They crotchet

the telephone lines,

playing jazz

down the wires

 

And we stop

to listen, turning

our ears

to the music of rain,

 

White noise

on grey screens

tumbling

homeward

over the edge

of clouds.

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The Wind Sings Winter     

The silvered branch is brittle-edged with frost,

The wind sings winter through the trees,

Cats cling to the shelter of doorsteps, wind-tossed,

The silvered branch is brittle-edged with frost,

The cold, grey morning window is embossed

with ice crystals; we sit and count the lost

long days of summer’s memories.

The silvered branch is brittle-edged with frost,

The wind sings winter through the trees.

Mistletoe

Suspended between the heavens and the earth,

Your fertile bough, which plants the kiss of love

upon the sky – the promise of new birth

Suspended between the heavens and the earth,

Tears of Frigga, treasure beyond worth,

The longest night, yet here begins the birth

of better days, of hope – you shine above

Suspended between the heavens and the earth,

Your fertile bough, which plants the kiss of love.

(Black Bough, Christmas Edition 2021)

Whispering Reeds

A swan with frozen feathers

plaits the willow with her beak

in hope of spring.

 

The tender unveiling

of a fern, unfurling her soft,

bejewelled garden of green…

 

Playful fingers of white, wild wind

pluck fluff from pointed bulrush

and send it shivering into the sky

 

The curlew’s cry,

The wind-tipped heron

whirls and dips to plunge,

Flurry of frost and feather

And the deeper, unfathomable things.

 

Hawk slices the sky

to catch, clean and deep

on silent talons,

Only her shadow

betrays her

 

Spinning cloak of sun,

Throb of rain

and battleship sky

Teach me the secret art

of silence.

Autumn

Ivy strangles the

music from each folded vein,

The pulse of each contending thing,

The rhythms of rain,

Their striving shadows.

Out of Season

 

The tide breathes out driftwood on the foam. Out of season. Out of time. Bark stripped to bare bone.

 

Knuckles nobbled, stretched skins preserved by salt of stinging years, ebbed to a liminal state of neither life nor death, but something in between. We wash up in shoals at cafes and bookshops, curled at the edges, spines bent with dust, to whisper over cappuccinos, heads a foaming tide of nodding white. Out of season. Out of place.

 

A pair of hungry seagulls

Peck and fight

Over a piece of bone

Scraped clean

As a china plate

 

The sea bleaches everything, sucks out all colour. The sky, a bluish grey, has turned the streets sepia. We wear beige, abhor exotic flavours, and cannot bear excess of emotion. Our manners are impeccable. We bear ourselves upright as polished pebbles.

 

A clinging clammy damp that winds itself into the soul, imprints clothes, skin, hair – a stinging, dingy damp, that sticks to everything it touches, moulded and mildewed, that cleaves to rock and bone and skin, strips the flowered paper from the walls, crawls in uninvited through the cracks. The damp slips ghostly, tugs curtains, ruffles petticoats, tweaks the frills of napkins, and renders matches, lighters and all forms of ignition impotent.

 

And now the clocks fall –

Time going backward,

The lengthening of shadows,

The perpetual stride of time.

 

Birds gather in murmuration,

Iron filings against the clouds,

Trace magnetic north

Through steel-grey skies.

From ‘The Eastside Cycle’:

 

Martyrs

 

In these dark days, Saints

are everywhere

singing from the pages

of well-worn books,

wings crumpled

to the touch of fingers

 

Today, reflected

on the subway wall,

a fractured halo

of sunlight, half-caught,

flutters in the tension

of traffic’s dulled

bluebottle buzz.

Ecstatic rainbows

dance the petrol

pooled beneath

our feet, as you await

my answer:

 

‘I am conflicted,’ I protest –

Chain myself to the stake

of my own destruction

 

Light the touch paper,

See me burn.

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