Sharp Poems

Alison Swinfen (Creative Writing: University of Glasgow)

In an Advent Chapel
The Bield, Blackruthen House, Perthshire,
contains a small modern chapel, The Carpenter's Chapel,
converted from an old wood shed 5 years ago.

This is a place
for the gnarled and
the knotted, the
chiselled, and sawn and

And into this place
come the burnt and
the broken, the
charred, the rough hewn
and chopped.

And in this place
there is honing and
shaping, a
planed-piece a
turning and a twist

Where the deep root
meets the strong branch
and the bark crosses silver
the kindling brings a
bright light
that bursts.

Dead Daisies
And then they came
with the daisy
cutters, so that
green stems
bleed and
white petals
bruise and the
lawn is so rip-raped
that now only
rye grass
can grow.

New Leaves
They grew on a
mature birch tree,
silvering through
winter, budding
in spring.

They breathed out
green air
but those who
walked in their
shade knew
not of the
heart-wood, saw not
its dark rings.

And only once
the winds blew
did they
flame into ashes
sharing pale
hope with a
whitening earth.

So turn each one
trace out the bones,
crack the spine open,
and wait. 

eSharp issue: autumn 2003. © Alison Swinfen 2003. All rights reserved. ISSN 1742-4542.