Spring at the start of autumn

Here is the second of two poems recently commended by poet John Siddique in the 2015 Poetry Space international competition: a reminder of spring at the start of autumn. Happy those in the southern hemisphere right now!

View from a High, High Window
Wind stirs the starred uncurling leaves
Beyond this glass, between these eaves,
And the long town settles with a sigh.

Blue twilight pulls a blanket on the day–
The great uneven bed of it–spreading,
Shouldering night across hunched rooftops.

Now night sets out the seedling lights
The way your lover’s hands set out
Spring seeds within the rain-dark earth.

Then lights bloom bright as paths of marigolds
Which I would tread with cool bare feet
To follow to your arms, your sleep.

© Lizzie Ballagher


Night and Stars


Through the ringing dark,
Shivering stars rain down
Arrows, dazzling showers of silver
To turn the steep night white.

Genuflecting in obeisance to those higher lights,
Small solar lamps, garden bling,
Flicker, dwindle, fade to silence
Beside the benighted lawn.

Breathless shadows blacken, lengthen
In the answering bleach of frost.

Over us, rising from the deep,
A chalk-sailed galleon—
Ghost-ship of the spectral moon—
Looms soundless, mute.

It leaves a white lace wake,
A fleece and glaze of hoarfrost
Across the grieving grass.
Midnight. Moonlight. Earthlight.

© Lizzie Ballagher


A new tree poem for you

2014-07-13 11.14.35Lothlόrien Revisited

“The boughs are laden with yellow flowers; and the floor of the wood is golden…and its pillars are of silver, for the bark of the trees is smooth and grey.”
J R R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, Bk II, 6

Unless the star-struck moon rising between glinting trees
Has made me mad, I think the birch & linden woods are full
Of whisperings as much as moonlight.
So, maybe, if we walk out here tonight,
We’ll see elves slender as the silver trunks,
Wistful for the world we lost—oh—long ago
When we chose to peel & carve & chop away
The papery bark of Yggdrasil, the world’s great Tree;
To split earth’s spangled rings of quartz, feldspar & silica.

In the sweep of curving blackened twigs,
In the weep of sprigs still wintry dark,
In the burned-out candle-sparks of last year’s catkins,
Quick, pencilled lines define themselves.
The golden lime & silver birch-trees quiver, shiver, shimmer
Until we listen to the murmur of an ancient mystery;
Quake, shake, coruscate
Until we hear the brittle singing voices
Of the glittering sylvan folk.

Pearl bark curls back, unfurls, cracks.
Ink-etched, frosted, black, bleached,
Trees stretch & taper, elongate, all dancing grace.
From saffron & cinnamon dust the night woods wake.

© Lizzie Ballagher