The wind has ice threaded through it.
Gives it bones. Spindle fingers.
With which to scrape and sting.
It will poke your eye.
Probe beneath coat cuff and skin.
Snatch your breath in a gnarled fist.
Pluck at scarf and hat.
For such a skinny entity,
it has a large and irritating power.
The Road to Ashleworth
The afternoon is a grey taste of autumn.
A cold-porridge, murky mouthful.
The hedgerows flare in golds and reds,
Glazed but not shining.
The road is dewy with moisture.
Mud streaks and clumps where tractors grumble by.
Wheels catapult great gobs of clay into the air.
The road to Ashleworth runs as a causeway
past lakes of standing water. Cloud patterns
reflect in them, subtle in shape and shade.
Across the fields stands a row of stark trees.
Tall-almost leafless. Great clumps of mistletoe cling.
Leafy starbursts tucked into ragged branches.
The old tithe barn rears huge and sturdy,
its door agape upon a cavernous silence. Rain falls.
Slow at first-like summers goodbye tears.
Then builds to melancholy curtains,
clawed by vagrant winds.
We turn with thoughts of homes’ warmth
and follow the road to Tewkesbury.
Beyond the shore.
Beneath the undulating sweep of breakers.
In depths of fluid tones, green, grey and blue.
Lie a languid colony of Pteriiadea.
Rocked in the moon-tides rhythmic cradle.
Stroked by the pull and push of currents.
Then raised up for the insertion of grit.
Handled by men with ropey sinews
and blades held in their fists.
Who gently tease apart tight mollusc mouths.
Open them briefly to the world of sun and wind.
Yet oysters repay this intrusion with generosity.
Work busily. Smother the irritant. Layer nacre
in fine films one upon the other and gather
precious moist secretions, to build iridescent moons.
The men return. Turn them over now and then.
Left to right and back, for symmetry.
To make a perfect sphere. A pearl grows.
Snugged within soft muscle. To lie like a pale eye
within in the closed lid of the oyster.
The colony sway gently against murmurous wire restraints.
Boxed in by strong mesh. Knitted with weed
that furls its green hair into the water. Once lifted,
the transmutation is viewed. A harvest of beauty gathered.
Sufficient to hang round elegant necks. To to lie like star-drops
on soft-skinned hands. Pearls. Brought to life
by the warmth of skin. Yet out at sea,
nothing shows but the heaving, incessant beauty, of waves.
Miki Byrne is the author of two poetry collections. She has had work included in over 120 poetry magazines and anthologies. She has won prizes for her poetry and has read on both Radio and TV and judged poetry competitions. She has a BA (Hons.) in 3D Design and a PGCE. Her new collection ‘Flying Through Houses’ will be available from Indigo Dreams Press in 2013. Miki is disabled and lives in Gloucestershire, England