On the Sandstone Patio. A Poem by Liz Quirke

Never has there been such an unfurling
of time as this, these weeks

in and around this house that grew me;
and before, if there had been time,

I didn’t collect it well,
wasted any and all of it

by trying to lasso hours on the fly,
hopping from one diary entry to another,

over and back the bridge, above water
that lurks as a warning in winter,

by the cathedral with its bleating patrons.
On this island I’m as south as I want to be,

this small radius is fine for the moment,
but it can only be a moment,

because somewhere in the east,
little planets are aligned and waiting,

and somewhere east-er still,
new love holds my place.

For now though, I’m caught in warm weather
and memories, out in this garden.

When I close my eyes, my father arrives
out the door to me, even though

he’s these long days dead.
I can see my little planets turning

and coming to rest on the bench
with the zoo animals rendered in metal

on the back. I know how they like to chase the sun,
so I must keep some in my hands for them.

For now, I’ll hold each shade behind my eyes,
bursts of red and magenta that spiral

behind this terrace of houses,
where three doors down a cockerel shrills

beyond midday, and I watch the light
change above the graveyard wall.

listen to insects house their turnings
in the grass.



Liz Quirke is a poet and scholar. Salmon Poetry published her debut collection The Road, Slowly in 2018 and her second collection How We Arrive In Winter will be published in late 2020. Say hello to Liz on twitter.

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