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Poems by the selectors for SOUTH 56

The poems for SOUTH are selected anonymously by guest selectors. We thank Sharon Larkin and David Ashbee who selected the poems for SOUTH 56.

END OF SEASON

Shadows stretch and daylight dwindles quickly
once the final eel is jellied, the last winkle picked.
The shellfish shacks pull up their striped pyjamas,
snug about their square and sturdy frames,
washed and brushed and desperate for a rest.
Their deckchair siblings are already tucked in bed,
swaddled and musty beneath green sheets, dreaming
of endless erections, peeling backs, sweaty thighs.

Then late one night, the turncoat tide begins its sadist
lashing of the shingle, shredding canvas, stripping paint,
beating up each rusting railing, bruising every plank,
egged on by gulls that echo shrieks of long-gone kids,
squawks of the brutish Punch. Their manic cacklings
climax as candy floss dealers come to their sticky end.

© Sharon Larkin

AFTER WALLACE STEVENS

The taint of Autumn is what you must drink
to gaze on the mildewed mushrooms,
palsied branch and brittle twig,

adjust your blood's thermostat
to brush through the mob of imploring leaves,
their flanks caked with decay;

must push on, dry-eyed
through the forest webbing, and not forage
for poetry there where the spider is spinning

his season's yarns that are new but only yarns
and filigree, like the spinning glass
a conjuror spins

for the mesmerised watcher who stands in the wings
of the forest of twigs under palsied branches
and watches for the fall.

© David Ashbee

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