#inktober 14. CLOCK


The number of moving and meaningful poems about time is frankly overwhelming. Writing my own as it flows, straight from brain to page, is rewarding. It helps me see afresh how far a poem will travel from tumbling out to being ‘finished’. The work of working words, so they are not words but ‘the words’ is as much about what is not put on the page as what is. InkTober is a particular challenge for me because I’m not a daily pages sort of writer. My poems emerge as a way of finding out what I think and feel about a thing. Kathleen Jamie said at a talk last week that for her a poem is finished when there’s nothing else to be changed and it no longer holds her interest, then she knows it’s done because she’s done with it. Then it’s ready for a reader.


Complex animal of time

[I have never understood how to teach]

each reddening apple falls

and falls again into my autumn.

I do not pick it up

but watch the woodlouse family

tunnel in and slim grey slugs

curl around their juicy lips

and sleep. The apple skin

begins to shrink, the flesh

is considering decay when sharp

beaked and boisterous —

a blackbird tick-tocks

the softened fruit, gulps

and goes again and I watch

the apple day after day

until the one-for-sorrow

pulls my gaze away.

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