The chicken in autumn

No spring chicken, she fluffs up her hair.
Neck is turkeying, becoming its own scarf
of bumpy, gobbling skin.  She pushes at the strange,
frill neck, loose Elizabethan collar, gravity's triumph,
and remembers, stroking, the departed flesh of spring.

Pink buds looked upwards, as if watching clouds,
Her body watered itself, moistly rippled,
Holding itself tightly in an embrace
assumed to be everlasting, but like any flower
wind caressed too hard, and the petals fell. 

Autumn, they say, is fruitful, mellow, wiser,
tasting winter on the air, beyond mere promise
of that which can not last, of fairies or of flowers.
A graceful pause, equilibrium.  But falls of leaves
speak of falls of snow, of skin, of flesh, of life.

But still leaves may be kicked upwards, fluttering,
rudely resurrected out of  dignified piles, 
decorum shed like a lizard's skin, unwanted.
Half of life has been spent, but the legs still swing,
lovingly, the lungs embrace air.  The tough bird sings.

PS Cottier

That’s a very old poem, published in my first book, The Glass Violin, in 2008. It’s becoming more relevant every year! You know you’re getting a bit older when you forget the dates that you got various degrees, which is the over-educated version of where did I put my keys? Rereading the poem now, there are more flower images than I’d probably use now, but I quite like it.

On mistakes

March 31, 2016

So you’ve laboured over a poem, and it’s as near to finished as it will ever be.  So you upload it and pay the fee for a comp, and sit back and have a cup of tea (or coffee, or wine, depending on the time).

So you realise that you sent a draft, and that draft was over the line limit.  So you refill the form with the proper poem uploaded, and ask if it can be substituted.  So you kick your computer and yourself.  So you don’t know if the poem will be disqualified.  So you may never know!

So you have a glass of wine, and stuff the time.  Wine is the only cure for idiocy.

cheers

So you are not as celebratory as the woman in the picture.

UPDATE:  So on the way down to your favoured wine place, you remember that you are picking up your daughter from school later on, and therefore, that you can’t drink.  Let middle class sulking erupt like an erupty thing!  (You maintain you are working class, but people tend to laugh when you say that.)  So you vent on your blog like a whingey Vesuvius.

UPDATIER: The lovely administrators have accepted the second submitted version of my poem.  Drinking in celebration is so much nicer!  (Please read with slightly slurred eyes.)