Friday, 14 June 2024 10:26


Published in Poetry


by Fran Lock, with image above by kennardphillips

after the acrostic Floral Tribute, by Simon Armitage

heave, between the balms and banes, the hoods, the wryts, the resinous salves.
our home hangs on a nettle's dead hospitality, a creeping thistle's milky fáilte;
ragwort's wastrel stammer frames these thoughts. and grip-grass' weak amours,
rotting. all things must, each redolent blade, bruised. the tepid musk of ending.
orris writes the ominous biography of power, its bitter tumult trampled now.
rain, among the binds and twitches. pain, stepped into the trite spiral of a snail.

temper's undertakings laid on stale rushes; garlic's laden stink for succour.
eglantine, our sweetbrier, sweet bier bearing your weight in hips and haws.
rosebay, speedwell. arrows of indifference, mellow sceptres of salute. cold
ruin breathes from loch and loam, from all the lime pits of our grieving. no,
our asphodels won't meadow you. a common keening coined in chalk. leave.
riverrisen, tenderturfed. mossy herb and mist. sealed inside her brackish fist.


Floral Tribute

by Simon Armitage, with image below by Matthias Ripp 

Evening will come, however determined the late afternoon,
Limes and oaks in their last green flush, pearled in September mist.
I have conjured a lily to light these hours, a token of thanks,
Zones and auras of soft glare framing the brilliant globes.
A promise made and kept for life – that was your gift –
Because of which, here is a gift in return, glovewort to some,
Each shining bonnet guarded by stern lance-like leaves.
The country loaded its whole self into your slender hands,
Hands that can rest, now, relieved of a century’s weight.

Evening has come. Rain on the black lochs and dark Munros.
Lily of the Valley, a namesake almost, a favourite flower
Interlaced with your famous bouquets, the restrained
Zeal and forceful grace of its lanterns, each inflorescence
A silent bell disguising a singular voice. A blurred new day
Breaks uncrowned on remote peaks and public parks, and
Everything turns on these luminous petals and deep roots,
This lily that thrives between spire and tree, whose brightness
Holds and glows beyond the life and border of its bloom.