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Dominic Fisher Poetry

As if a tree could stutter briefly into being
 lose all its leaves then vaporise”

Bonfire Night from a Loft Window 

From the white field

It’s nearly New Year, and there’s Silver Street poetry at St Stephen’s in central Bristol, BS1 1EQ, at 12.30 Friday 30th December. Whatever the future holds, it’s not a blank page. We have already scribbled on it. It might be a frosted field, but there are things growing underneath, there are grubs there for foxes to grub up. It might be a festive fridge full of things to finish. It might be a near empty fridge you can’t afford to run.

So hello from the white field and from the white tree with mistletoe in its bare empty heart. Give it another three months and you won’t be able to see the mistletoe. And here in Horfield there’s still mistletoe, holly and ivy up in the house. And I’m reading what’s probably my favourite Christmas present: Vasko Popa, Complete Poems (Anvil Press Poetry 2011), translated by Anne Pennington, revised and expanded by Francis R Jones, with a fascinating introduction by Ted Hughes no less. These are certainly not white pages, though there’s plenty of space. Vasko Popa as translated here is a lesson to us all, a kind of surrealist, perhaps, but one deeply imbued with his native Serbian folk lore.

The following poem is not like Vasko Popa, though I’ve loved his work for many years, so there may be some detectable influence. It’s one in a sequence in my first collection written from our allotment plot.

Happy New Year

White field

 

Every plot is one faint blue-grey
its planting slipping from memory.

Paths have gone from the page
the unexpected snow made

and what’s green is wilted or bitter
onions and leeks going under.

What are you here for with slow feet
in this half-sunk lettering?

Go home in your own fading script
through blurred air and the falling day.

 

(From The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead
 The Blue Nib, 2019)