The meadow grass is shrivelling, turning black:
the fiery ring is spreading, its heat burning deep
into my skin. I step back from the blaze,
acrid smoke stinging my eyes, and weep.
The tree stood at the centre of the field
we flew our kites in, its leafy cumulus
a shelter whenever it rained.
Nails in the trunk let us climb
beyond the hole my grandad showed me
(he said it was a woodpecker’s,
but we never found an egg,
nor even the beginnings of a nest)
and on into the high branches
caressing the blue of a summer sky.
Swaying in the wind, we'd spread our sails
and bear towards New England,
whose autumn hues and teeming seas
lived on beyond each nightfall
and descent to sleep.
A livid cloud is spreading above a pillar of smoke.
Log by rotten log, the tree is crumbling into ash.
Far to the east a cold dead moon is rising, huge,
shivering in the superheated air.
Tribute, Scalby Ness, Yorkshire
Black against the blue sea, the tuft
became a spray of flowers propped
upright by a stick, still in cellophane
and tied with a maize-yellow bow,
the heads of the orange gerberas
and white chrysanthemums lowered
as if in respect. The card, a tribute
to a much-loved dad and grandad,
gave neither name nor indication of why
the flowers were there. Was Long Nab
a favourite spot of his, with views
to all points of the compass – south
to the ruined castle beyond Sea Life’s
intrusive pyramids and the sands; north
over the scars of Burniston Bay; west
up Scalby Beck’s winding, shrub-sided
dene; east to the far communion
of sea and sky? On a rougher day,
would he have relished bracing himself
against a gale sweeping waves across
the rocks they’ve already scraped bare
and hurling spray a hundred feet up
into his face? Only his closest know.
Like me, a few may speculate, but most
who walk this cliff will have no chance,
for the next storm will whisk away
the withering blooms and leave no trace.
Mantz Yorke is a former science teacher and researcher living in Manchester, England. His poems have appeared in a number of print magazines, anthologies and e-magazines in the UK, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the US, Australia and Hong Kong. His collection ‘Voyager’ will be published in February 2020.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.