INDIGO DREAMS PUBLISHING LTD
GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2021
UK Writer Geraldine Green’s first collection, The Skin, was published 2003, Passio 2006, (Flarestack Publications), Poems of a Molecatcher’s Daughter (Palores Publications) 2009, and The Other Side of the Bridge (Indigo Dreams Publishing) 2012.
Widely anthologised, she’s read and been published in the UK, USA, Italy and Greece.
Freelance Creative Writing Tutor and Mentor, Associate Editor of Poetry Bay www.poetrybay.com Geraldine is Writer-in-Residence at Swarthmoor Hall, home of George Fox and she lives in Ulverston, Cumbria, UK.
216 x 138 mm
£8.95 + P&P
The bees I hear are the ones that
live in two hives made from wood
over the dry stone wall just down
from where the road drops from Bardsea
village and joins the coast road. They,
one side of the wall and I, the other.
I watch them, the bees, as they hum
their way into air into honey, gather the
delicacies of spring, spin their winged
bee-sunned bodies into nectar.
Below the earth worms grow rich and fat
on composting bodies - the badger I saw
last October, shot-down crow, wounded
rabbit its glazed eyes gazing up
to the sun, pulled
into darkness by beetles and worms, then,
through nature’s slow, alchemical rhythm
turn into light, become the nettles that hide
the hives, become the nettles that throw
I watch them, the bees, coming and going -
their louvred wooden boxes; one with a blue
lid, the other unpainted.
I have to write this down
the seagulls the tide full and returning
the noise the cries, purple-pink light
sun rising, bruised sky, air lifting.
I have to write this down
the air and sea the palms outstretched, open
holding the moment
the past, the future and
what is to come
the thankfulness of ocean, ebb tide flowing
seagulls' cries, air, sun, purple –
pink light, bruised sky
an opening now clear and opal
open palms facing the dawn cupped palms
cradling in one palm the moment in the other
a poem, together open
praising the day.
“Geraldine Green's Salt Roads travel far – from Skye to New Mexico – but they return her to Cumbria and to the deep seams of memory. However, the “urge to journey” is a recurrent theme. Green is a poet who takes the world as her home and responds to all that animates it. This is what shows most powerfully the influence of Native American poetry and thought on her work – and indeed on the way she lives her life. The “shape of washing” can move her as much as the flight of a bird. This is a fearless collection – the forms she chooses pulse with instinctual life and all the pieces, be they poems, prose poems or “jottings”, carry a delight in life's riches.”
"The world of ‘Salt Road’ is fresh and immediate, filled with reverence for land and language: from Cumbrian homelands to the plains of Kansas, from a shrimper’s tractor on Morecambe sands to New Mexico and beyond, this collection of poetry and prose sings with the accents, dialects and colloquialisms of the forebears who helped brew this poetic mix, rich as the poteen from an uncle’s kitchen. You feel you are walking with the poet along her shores and hills, following her clear-eyed gaze ‘in the rough wet nose of the lonely wind’, feeling the wild joy of the world in poems both big-hearted and alive.”
I startled the lark. Perhaps I was walking
too fast, or the sudden arm movement
as I lifted the ball-on-a-rope for my dog,
disturbed the air, swung the lark up on
its cry as it carried itself skywards, its song
settled from surprise to what sounded like
scolding. That was at the end of my ramble.
I parked the car, strode past the bent by
the wind blown hawthorn, its thin, stunted
branches pointed north and I followed,
folding myself around the contours of
sheep tracks through low growing gorse.
Vicious, if you have to retrieve a ball
from its centre.
Today it was me and the wind,
couples, singles, families, dogs, kites and
the occasional phlegmatic sheep.
I sat on a limestone rock, watched waves
nibble at the shore of Chapel Island, chatted
with a couple and their blonde haired daughter,
afraid of Roy until her father threw the roped ball
and she grew braver. They wandered off,
laughing, towards the stone circle, soon to be
decorated with pumpkins, chrysanths and candles.
The Bay, a dazzle of waves, even at this distance -
I could hear them mumbling to pebbles and marram,
down there on the beach at Bardsea where, as a child,
I once ducked as dad warned the family, 'Bees!'
And a dense, fast cloak of them swarmed over
our heads as we lay flat on our picnic blanket.
Sometimes we would play in the gulleys,
turned turtle by a sudden slap of wave,
happy among cockles and the smell of salt mud.
I can still feel it dried and grey between my toes,
scraping it off before pulling on plimsolls,
heading home with a bag of shells
and a bunch of memories to give dad
when he came in from work at the Strep. Plant,
Glaxo, smelling of pear drops and acid.
Fast and Loose
Spring today came fast and loose on the back of a fog that lingered this morning, but that's ok as day unfolded in golden spring sunlight that spent itself out in turquoise and silver as light exploded over the common this evening as I walked my dog near Sunbrick, Birkrigg.
Woods in the Fog
Priory woods were loud with a pair of woodpeckers in the oak trees today. A flock of oystercatchers' wings a muffled boom as they rose in startled flight. No sign of Chapel Island. Fog heightened my senses.
Salt Road into the Bay
Late afternoon, I walk
alongside the mud flats
of Morecambe Bay –
the tide that swings
its way in & out –
I walk out into wind,
salt & flat-caked mud
baked white in the sun,
tread among samphire,
spiked as yet unplumped
shoots of bright green
small pockets of prayer
parcels of ozone and ask:
are you really samphire,
that bright jewel of
remembered from Lear?
And into the salt and the sea
and into the tide & the flats
I follow the footprints: trainers,
knobbled patterns in salt,
salt into sand,
me into them,
us into us all.
A caterpillar tyre
a shrimper’s tractor
curving round & out –
I curve like that
as if I'm its juice
as if I'm its flesh
as if I'm crushed
into samphire green
take in the sweep and sway
before the next wash of tide.
Clear as a bell
over Cartmel fells.
swam at Roanhead
Scafell, Coniston, Esk Hause
so close I could
reach across this estuary
and stroke them.