Carol Watts

 

Quicken: Three Poems

 

1

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

 

 

 

2

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

 

clack-clack!

 

making way for other bodies to arrive

 

amplification of bees in a cup

 

roundness of wings

 

a consternation

 

of wrens

 

 

 

3

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

                        overrun

 

 

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.