Poems from Stephen Waling and Joanna Boulter

Still Bird on Goose Island

the remains of a picnic
in advance of refreshment

“when you’re young and in love”

arrives         as it did last year

Photo: the heart-shaped boating lake
            being built

new air in their sails
swans arrive separately
at a period of exploration

blue shoes circling the lake
a heron stood hours on one leg
entrances into relationship

as a flower’s green inwardness
unclenches on the lawn



*Stephen Waling a published poet from Manchester (Travelator, Salt; Calling Myself On the Phone, Smith/Doorstop; and Captured Yes, Knives Forks and Spoons Press). This poem was written for the 50th Aniversary of Platt Field's Park in Rusholme, Manchester.




The Woman in White

I’ve planted double lilac Mme Lemoine
(that name itself redolent of French perfume,
white lace and elegance down a long ballroom)
twice now, in different gardens, different towns,
and had to leave each place. I’ve never known
how either tree has made her début, come
of age in beauty, filled her promised bloom.
For all that I can tell, they’re both cut down.
Each May, I see where other lilacs stand
in other people’s gardens; but for me
the glimmering light, the heady scent that scours
my heart with sadness out of some lost land
drifts from those vanished hopes. Beyond each tree,
always, each May, a spectral lilac flowers.


*Joanna Boulter, shortlisted for the Forward First Collection Prize (2007)  for 24 Preludes And Fugues On Dmitri Shostakovich, (Arc Publications), has recently completed a collaboration with composer Andrew Webb-Mitchell on a major symphonic song-cycle, Songs of Awe and Wonder.


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