Matt Merritt: Three Poems

Matt Merritt

Matt Merritt was born in Leicester in 1969. He studied history at Newcastle University, and has worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist in Cardiff, Leicester and Peterborough. He currently works for Bird Watching magazine, and lives near Leicester. His chapbook, Making The Most Of The Light, was published by HappenStance Press in October 2005, his first full collection, Troy Town, was published by Arrowhead Press in 2008 and a new collection, Hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica, is forthcoming from Nine Arches Press in November 2010.
Gabble Ratchet
Corpse hounds, he calls them,
each one the soul of a child
taken too soon to be baptised,
or gabble ratchets, with all that suggests
of infernal machines, devices
of a consciousness that bedevils
our gentle swoop into sleep, dying only
in the first confusion of new light.
Wader Flock, Thornham Harbour
Grounded, they give themselves up reluctantly,
bleached to first-glance uniformity
by the brilliant, cold sun. But when they fly,
they separate by species. First the redshanks,
flutters of raw nerve, skimmed inland by the wind.
Curlews, tailing away down the deep curves
of their calls. Godwits, oystercatchers, dunlin,
gone, until all that’s left is a scatter of grey plovers.
Cranky old bachelors, almost content with their own
reflections, finally trying to outfly their shadows,
mourning themselves in a thin diminuendo.
The sea at Ashby de la Zouch
is every artist’s dream. The muted blues
of distant Charnwood are (just ask
Sir Walter Scott) as nothing
to its azure depths, the mescaline
textures of its shifting surface a gift
to all who ever flirted with the muse.
Civic-minded townsfolk work to maintain
the beached hulk of the castle
as a serviceable metaphor, while the littoral
is a rich seam of inspiration, where present
and future mingle to lap against
the petrified forests of the past.
Along the front the pubs are full
and in The Lamb two youths
beat themselves up over the words to the old song
but draw only a glance from the landlord,
a character, who spent his best years
working the treacherous coast of Bohemia
and still can’t believe he ran aground here.
Visit Matt’s blog, Polyolbion.
Visit HappenStance Press.
Visit Arrowhead Press.
Visit Nine Arches Press.

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