©COPYRIGHT CATHY GRINDROD // ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2015
He shaves off his beard after 20 years
When he shaved off his beard
and his face hatched,
she was shy, shrank
in its glare like a fledgling,
peeped out on its newness,
creeping in to watch him sleep
in the chair, brazen,
sunrising from cushions.
And speaking of mornings,
she listened hard
for the sud, scrape, slosh,
of sleek drips unhindered,
glistening their proof
on pink porcelain,
stroked his smoothness,
first with one finger,
shocked by its tight tip’s trail,
later with five of them,
sliding like skaters unrinked.
Love, she thought,
as they lay, that first time,
and he turned to her,
bedclothes pushed down,
his face wide open.
A Certain Way
When the light is a certain way
and it is a particular time of evening
late spring, afternoon over, not yet dusk,
and always in the country, some things
up close – bluebells, cow parsley,
a gate you can lean on to look out
over only fields, birdsong,
you stoop, kneel, sometimes
in your best trousers, over a flower,
a bright cuckoo-pint perhaps,
your camera angled precisely.
Always I am walking away,
searching for other flowers for you,
idly, in the late sunshine
and always I turn, happening on you
from a distance, hunched over the flower,
intent, things softening at the edges –
a wood full of bluebells, the road
half-hidden by trees. I look so hard
tears blur the picture till you’re gone,
and only a vague landscape remains
in which you are a memory,
the cuckoo-pint undisturbed. A long time
I bear this. When I wipe my eyes clean
you re-emerge, click into place,
still holding that same pose,
and at last, move, look up, waving
and smiling, disturbing everything.
(pub Shoestring, 2009 also pub Acumen)
When This Class Writes (At Buxton Community School) When this class writes they are deep-in down, silent, catching at words, scrabbling, missing, casting again. Now and then one climbs bubbling to the surface whisper-nudging a neighbour. A droplet falls from lips, bursts into light. Sometimes a ripple surges round a table, fades, swells again, trickles away. When they read out, their words ebb, flow, pool for inspection, molecules under microscopes close-up clear. Sometimes they come up shortagainst dams: blockages:stop: stagnate:search for an opening and break through, pouring relentless into lochs, rivers, the sea, longed-for places where deep-in down, silent, this class writes. Cathy Grindrod(pub Shoestring 2009 also pub English in Education (Wiley/Blackwell)
As You Pass
What will you make of these circles the sun has made,
each in its own perfect halo of light?
A spider might stop, flinch, make itself small for shadows;
a fish choose just one, welcome its limits;
a heron, gaunt on guard, dive into its centre, clean;
a kitten pat its paw inside each one all morning long.
And you? What will you make of these circles the sun has made?
Crawl through them then, nose them apart.
Look, they are reforming, unfazed, even as you pass.