Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Summer Beginnings’ and other poems

By: Christian Ward

Summer Beginnings

Clouds rollercoaster into rain.
The block of flats opposite
is lighter than candy floss.
Squint and you’ll see furniture,
televisions, laptops, and Dyson
vacuum cleaners levitating.
The alley nearby – ruled
by a gang of moss – is no bigger
than my thumb from where I’m sitting.
Perhaps I’ll use my thumb
and forefinger to stretch it like dough.
Sneak into the hidden garden
dosed in wildflower scents,
warm like summer, before everything
realises the gravity of their position
and becomes firm like school-straightened
backs. Bring summer. Let it slouch
into view.

Saturday In Summer

The dry heat has turned us
into dogs: tongues flapping
like a mediaeval cape,
sniffing the citrusy jasmine
from a perfume shop
like a welcome relief
from the accumulated stench
making us stiff fish bones.
We lie like logs on beds,
neatly coiffured park lawns,
benches, and shop doorways.
Pant out futures cursing
at us from the dungeons of drains.


cw: implied self-harm, suicide, mature themes

Your body explodes into crows.
Trees hide their eyes. Every street
will be a shuffling card trick
later in life. Be warned — nostalgia
will play that game, leave you in tears
when even streetlights won’t remember
you. A kindly fox might sniff your hand
and lead you to safety. A small gesture
you’ll appreciate. Drop the pills
to make the room shudder into primary
colours. Put away the razor. The window
and bath tub will have their own scenes
in the play performed in your head
some other time. Do not be overwhelmed
by the crows or whatever bird is occupying
your space at this time. Look, you’ve exploded
into red monarch butterflies this time.
A shifting tide of flame burning its way
in the world. Peek-a-boo, even the trees see you.

Jaguar Song

The rainforest’s assassin, stalking clock, wight,
strikes fear in the machete beaked toucan, tree frogs
as wet as a newborn, the anacondas long like moonlight.

It outdoes the shadow puppets of night,
slipping into the mind like a simile on the brain.
The rainforest’s assassin, stalking clock, wight.

Parentheses of bats mass into a bight
looping far above the rainforest’s canopy
as wet as a newborn, the anacondas long like moonlight.

The Amazon river dolphin, pink and bright,
senses it stalking along the riverbank. Shivers into a man.
The rainforest’s assassin, stalking clock, wight.

Capybaras slip into reed-suits when they glimpse its satellite
eye roving. Easy prey, like the snakes. Too attractive, the flesh
as wet as a newborn, the anacondas long like moonlight.

The jaguar might be a myth. A god prowling among the trees’
outstretched arms: Look what it takes, look what it leaves.
The rainforest’s assassin, stalking clock, a wight
with a hunger like a newborn, the anacondas long like moonlight.

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