Paul Stevens was born in Yorkshire, England but lives in Australia. He has an Honours degree in English, teaches Literature and edits The Flea, The Shit Creek Review and The Chimaera.
The Paragon of Plants
Eye to eye we track, grown heliotropic,
And sunlight ripples ticklish on our skin;
Your touch on my touch, phototactic, sticks.
We bathe in energy, our element:
Sky trickling liquid down bare branches,
Earth fingering upward through deep roots.
Now buds and foliage spring from manic limbs,
Hands metamorphose to the fruit they reach for:
Sense is exactly what sense apprehends,
And in this growth engrafts all difference
Of sex and soul, with scion cleaved to stock
And trunk to shaggy trunk. Swaying as one,
A paragon of plants, we rollick there,
Breathing light in, gasping out spicy air.
Previously published in Umbrella.
Alison Brackenbury’s seventh poetry collection, Singing in the Dark (Carcanet), has one of the loveliest covers I’ve seen.
A few days ago, Alison sent me a short poem from Singing in the Dark. In her words, heartsease is “a tiny pansy which grows at the edge of cornfields … delicately streaked with palest yellow and violet. But it combines beauty with the toughness of a weed.”
You know we are not lost. Nothing is lost.
The smallest crinkled petal of heartsease
Crumbles to ground. The wind that sweeps each face
Brings, wild with sun, your mother as a girl,
His vanished brothers, holds an endless place
For dogs, cats, ponies, robins that she fed.
Speak, as you must, of every fault and flight.
But never say of me that I am dead.
from Singing in the Dark (Carcanet)
Alison Brackenbury talks to Paul Stevens in The Chimaera (Issue 3) here.
Read nine poems in The Chimaera here.
Four of Alison’s poems in Horizon Review here.
Read more of Alison’s poetry on her website.
Alison’s author page on the Carcanet website.
Charles Bainbridge’s review of Singing in the Dark in The Guardian here.
Order your copy of Singing in the Dark here.