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Andrew Boobier: Two Poems

Science | Poppies


Here in the park with our twins,
James and Sam,

we chew over the merits
of dandelion clocks and daisies.

In the mid-distance a plastic bag
vaults into the air,

then shilly-shallies

across the blue haze
of the Plane trees.

It flips again, turning, over and over
through cornea, humour and lens

to the back-projected retina
and optic nerve;

a pure white
negative space

beyond the dull fact of itself

like a breeze-bloated soul,
as Anaximenes would have it.

And so it is:
hard pressed upon the earth,

you feel defined by the absolute
weight of gravity and light,

as if that blue space
between the trees

is the only glue
holding it all together.

So many years
I've tried to grasp

the significance of this,
only to find my hands

cannot bear the heft
of these shifting absences,

just as a bag cannot bear the weight
of its own airy nothingness

getting caught in the damp twist of roots.

A dog flits by
licking sunlight from the grass;

James looks up warily
from dog to Sam and then to me,

a minor distraction,
as we get on

with the looking at
and the naming of things.


A bruised top lip
rests on the blood pillow
puffed up to receive the wind...

Those spots on the bed,
wine stains of claret spores,
blew through us that night,
in a garden of terror.

Side by side we wavered
utterly still
muttering silent prayers
to any attuned god.

Me intoning
Alessandro Grandi's
O quam tu pulchra es
over and over in my head.

You, the beautiful round O
I lingered too long on,
lolling my tongue like a stop gap.

In the morning
we rushed to hospital;
the sonogram showed
two ghostly sea-horses
dancing in the merry-go-round
of your womb.

The next few weeks were a shock wave.

You stayed in bed
living in the belly of whale
listening to the echo-squeals
of two fish hearts
swimming in the pool
of your swollen lump.

They were hauled out early,
plump and puckered seedlings
blooming Spring mid-winter,
breaststroking the air
like fish out of water,

like these poppies
blood-rushing through the dandelions
to breathe the sun.

Poet's Biography:
Andrew Boobier was born in Haworth, West Yorkshire in 1963. After various jobs, he attended York University and gained a first-class degree in English. After spending a number of years on an aborted PhD on Seamus Heaney, he got down to writing his own poetry rather than writing about others, and has been published in the UK & USA in magazines such as The New Yorick, Orbis, versus, The Rue Bella and the Schuylkill Valley Journal; he has published online in The Pedestal Magazine, Poems Niederngasse, Eclectica, and Snakeskin. His translations of poems by Francis Ponge are forthcoming in The Drunken Boat. He is the editor of the Alsop Review's online quarterly magazine, Octavo. He is also a senior manager within a web design company, for his sins.

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