Seven Springs – by Frank McMahon
Who knows where they have come from? No
summer rains to fill the limestone
caverns, no spring time residue
and yet the tongues of water spread
in new directions, loosestrife by
the water’s edge; and willow herb.
Across a once-ploughed field,
feeding the tangled hedgerows and
forcing the flush of hawthorn’s white.
Folded in dew, summer might bring berries;
fieldfare and redwing on winter’s winds.
Imperfect Love – by Sophie Livingston
You are not handsome, though you said you were
thought quite a catch before time thinned your face.
Nor wise, or else by now it would occur
To you that women are more devious
Than kind, and that just because a story’s
True does not make it interesting, and while
I like some of your jokes, the truth is this –
It’s more the failure rate that makes me smile.
But though I clearly see your flaws and you
See mine. I would far rather have the light
Of our critical kind of love, than view
With romance’s dull, fore-shortened sight.
So, I’ll not patronise with lies and you
May criticise, so that our love stays true.
Under New Management – by Iris Anne Lewis
(Written some time ago when The Twelve Bells changed hands)
Moored like ships beneath the sign
the skips are full of cargo.
Battered tables, broken chairs thrown
higgledy-piggledy in the hold,
jostling with threadbare cushions and
beer-stained carpets loosely rolled.
Only the sign remains.
Twelve painted bells, solid black on white,
sway gently in the breeze, while in the distance
church bells chime, twelve notes rippling
across the Cotswold town.
A new sign, fresh painted, hangs there now.
Bluebells, dainty, nodding, on a buttermilk board.
A patch of springtime meadow suspended
above the tarmacked road.
But winter comes, and with it, fog and frost.
Across the rooftops church bells toll.
A chill wind blows, the pub sign rocks
and creaking, keens for something lost.