Issue 32 – 2021 – Carol Watts

Carol Watts


Quicken: Three Poems



The year quickens, comes to life

                        gives back a measure


of that familiar rhythm

            as if a nocturnal battle has slugged it out


the green takes on its muscles and peace


                        a reckoning already settled

                                                            by daylight


                        so this place simply rests



how much older we have become!

                        see how hours have told, loss drags the corner


of each eye and mouth, conceding

            the height of it, a keen scent turning


while trees tower


cool air fills with bodies, earth, cries


            skin rises to meet them, receiving

                        news of living


in intimate scale, endings





A broom sweeps a yard, becomes indistinct, merging

            with birds, as if the ear wants to equalise


a dryness in sound, make of it straw to bind the day


like the rhythm of a tongue padding away, rough in

                        anticipation of rain


where small banks of pollen catch in the throat, shunted into

            miniature dunes


shoes drag, not quite fitting feet, the hollow scrape

            of arches



the morning builds this way in latency




making way for other bodies to arrive


amplification of bees in a cup


roundness of wings


a consternation


of wrens





Quick, as a vein runs through


we have been here before

making clearings to simpler verbs

            a child is singing letters

            a wren is chattering alarm

            weeds are heaping up, lines in a leaf, the patching of shadow


only now arrived

                         something in the swell of the wind


scatters us

to find estate




C1300, quickenen, ‘come to life, receive life’, also transitive, ‘give life to’, also ‘return to life from the dead’; see quick (adj.) + -en. The earlier verb was simply quick (c.1200, from late Old English gecwician, and compare Old Norse, kvikna).


Carol Watts’ most recent publications are Kelptown (Shearsman) and A Time of Eels (Oystercatcher). She works at the University of Sussex, UK.