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Silver Branch Feature

Dominic Weston

Dominic Weston grew up on the edge of London, but has lived in the West Country ever since he went to University in Exeter to study Drama. Now, he produces wildlife programmes, runs over Somerset hills and writes poetry. His poems can be about family, the natural world, or both, and often undercut by a slick of dark humour. They  have appeared in The Alchemy Spoon, Agenda, Black Bough Poetry, Green Ink, Magma Poetry, Poetry Wales, Popshot Quarterly, The North and Under The Radar among others, and featured in anthologies by Candlestick Press, Fragmented Voices, The Iron Press, Live Canon and the Yaffle Press. Twitter: @Limescale Instagram: @FlipFlopFilms

A Father Who Will Never Be Accepts His Own Child


Inclined beyond tipping point

fearless and peerless in new colours

I scan a half-hiding sky

for dying suns

a handful to depict

a new constellation -

The Little Ghost Boy


now nestling

in the sanguine incubator

of my refurbished chest and abdomen.

Blizzard in the Amazon


Puttering into the riverboat’s beam

white noise engulfs our keen tender

an urgent squall of mating moths


Faces carpeted with emerging flyers

we cocoon ourselves in hammocks

storms soon drown out the static


Dawn rolls out a sodden massacre

papier-mâché plastering every deck

a failed generation now waits for us

to sweep it clean.

Dartmoor Pony Bones


Who placed the pony’s bones on the wall?

weighty white clubs


laid in a pelt of deepest moor moss

feigning forgiveness


weapons waiting to be considered

a femur fits the fist well


Someone placed the pony bones

on the wall by the river


giant knuckles, fortune stones

cast ready for the reading

underneath the oak and alder rows

they are not an accident

This is no resting place for a little horse

remnants harness purpose

Freshwater Swimming for Serenity

palm onto palm

slide into absorbing gloom

here and only here     
I extend  I reach  I glide


no end to touch no edge to grasp

only the rhythm is the guide


into the absorbing gloom

palm onto palm


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A Twin In Any Dark Window


You dump emotional IEDs in our path

lay booby traps deep in the heart

then scramble to defuse them the instant

the brass knob to the bedroom rattles


You’re the author of a secret tongue

but you can’t bear its solitude

compelled to betray yourself first

to conceal your betrayal of both of us


Your eyelids surrender to semaphore

that insistent and persistent request
                 S     O     S

save ours?                   or just your own?


At 5am you’ll scour the gloom from our upstairs window

tracing the grey rims of the encircling hedges you planted

Doulting Water


Only when April’s light is on the heavy side


the robin lets out a single reed of warning

that its mate should comprehend


the shadow of the jackdaw softens with

its nape beneath the chimney cowling


the crayfish gives up on the glint twitching

the surface of the narrow stream


as the aching eye of another spring sun

slips below the lip of the Charlton Viaduct.


Other wise


To Miranda Sawyer who once said that we are all unique,
just not that special

They’ve never seen you in the way you want

so you carefully incubated teenage shame

condensed it into a bright enamelled pin

and wear it still with such discreet pride


You’ve never grown a thick enough hide

cultivated a series of lurid wounds instead

lathering an oil and acid emulsion that smarts

despite the nonchalance invested in the burden


We’ve never understood all these subtle cues

that ring-fence your self-restrained indignation

but I now know you share the same pain we all do

one none of us have really found a way to name


I’m sorry - if I could have helped I would, but I realise
you won’t find the answers until you write these lines.




Crowlet on a chimney sodden

bullet beak aims at the cathedral

shoulders cloaked in drizzle


A single raindrop needles

slips through a chink in

the last ashen feathers of youth


Right wing sidles up

to give the drip the slip

and the left unconsciously echoes


On a fine day the coverlets

are carved from slivers of solid oak



But in today’s south-westerlies

her messy crown is now a mass

of scrivener’s ink-stained fingers.

Like Charlton Heston Never Knew


I walk into the room like Charlton Heston

the Red Sea closing back behind me


Particles accelerate in my wake

chase each other in lazy velocities


tailbacks spin into spiral galaxies around table legs

flow over mirrored surfaces in ever corkscrewing fluxes


vapour trails follow the minutest movement

a twitch, a single flip of a finger causes


currents to confer and shed near invisible payloads

infinite settlers remobilising in mass rallies


all over on my flat panel tv

How much of myself have I breathed in?


This all-seeing sunshine that shimmers with us through overly
unprecedented and difficult times is making work for me


No one denies dusting needs doing

it’s not as though dusting isn’t done


I do do dusting

but it just keeps coming


It has become apparent wherever you look

that stay at home policies result in peak shedding


the mere act of wafting a drip-dry microfibre cloth

releases ever more squadrons of suicidal skin cells


So now I redefine myself as zen

I am resolved


to just sit still and welcome them

to let their billion upon billion upon billions


settle in an undisputed and eternal

dry downpour


until I occupy my own serene stratum

in the bed of an implausible sea.

The Architecture of Winter            


The suffocating muffle and gaudy upholstery

of spring threatens


to hijack the sparse clarity of my landscape

its ebonised prongs


to be foisted with ruched wads and virulent

cloaks of foliation


my eyes mourn the unencumbered engravings

of spiny hedges


skeletal caterpillars bound to the beat of a taut

and timeless horizon


but I can sense the sap-slappy pressure rising

a vernal eruption


again the architecture of winter is under threat

its ruin imminent.

The Crows Are Not Black


This is the cathedral

This is the green

People sit on the green

to eat their lunch


There are two lesbians

with a black puppy

There are two gays

with a nice black bag


There are lots of crows

No one sees the crows

The crows are not black

they are hopping holes


bird-shaped lack of light

a pastry cutter of panic

a tightening heart skipping

through an unending…                                       

Protect Yourself With Fire


The lilies stopped drinking four days ago

I haven’t wound the clock since Falmouth

but one by one I will take on each room

righting them with unwritten order


She said she’d never been so proud

though she’d never get out of the car

to see winter waves carve away the head


Winter waves, carts away the headland

Thought she’d never let me out the car

kept saying she’d never been so proud


Writing them, with unwritten orders

one by one, but I will take them on soon

She couldn’t wind a clock since Falmouth

then Lily stopped drinking four days ago

The Kindest Thing

We left the vets without her

just her collar in hand

I think the pavement was hot

on the short walk home


But the year was about to close

summer’s chapter

usher us on


A new month on Monday

a new job

a new team


And at home


a quiet tunnel of a house

to take it all in.


Two-Thousand-Foot-Long Lines                           

There is no light

the light is lost so soon

before the bait is a minute down


There is no sound

as the weight lifts muds

untouched, off, off the trenching


There is no colour

in them or in their allies

in skin or hide or shell, it isn’t


There is no knowing

finger on the line

wind on the line, it cannot answer


Thick muscle, slack bellies, jawless

slow and blind and clear


Amassed upon each other

the forgotten, the forbidden, the feared.


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"Looking back, I have always written and found challenge and pleasure in writing, but I haven’t always written poetry. I used to love crafting narration scripts for the nature programmes I made, or for other people’s. It was always about supporting what you can see on screen and evoking what you can’t, but never saying-what-you-see, and this, I now realise, was the groundwork for my poetry. 

In 2015 I persuaded my bosses to send me on a residential writing course to prep for a major National Geographic series I thought I would be writing the narration for. But what came out was not prose, but poetry, and it has been coming out ever since. For me, it’s all about making connections between things that don’t seem connected – weaving two threads together to come up not with a rope, but a route."

Dominic Weston,

February 2023.

Woodland Portraits

"I created these Woodland Portraits for Silver Branch in a similar way to my poems in that they are made by binding together (at least) two threads, or images, that might not normally sit together. By experimenting, finessing and persistently tweaking them I try to extract a new sense from them, the result of which is often a surprise to me. Sometimes, it can be a safe space to examine darker thoughts and feelings.  In these images I was playing around with the idea of a sinister Elven spirit called 'The Erlking', or more specifically 'The Erl King’s Daughter', who in stories was said to ensnare human beings to satisfy her desire, jealousy or lust for revenge. In my case, I am casting myself in the same role with an LGBTQ+ twist as 'The Erl King’s Son', a fabled being to embody the darker corners of myself, who is never too far away, as he permeates the woods on the top of the hill behind my house, existing in every inch of it, but never quite there"

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