Poem — Nicholas Reid

Back Door

 

High as the handle, a garden viewed square by square
Through the stained-glass edging of a grandmother’s
door.

Yellow. Like a cheap sucked lollipop
makes the sunshine rowdy
the leaves and grass sickly.
Yellow for running butter, urine and headaches.

Green. Thick emerald twilight,
deep camouflage for birds.
Three boys on a tyre-swing are trolls,
creatures of earth and growth and weeds.

Royal blue. Sudden chill of holiness,
the fishes’ depths, the sky a midnight hole.
A garden of the best ink, blotting out subtleties
of shadow, making flesh white as death.

Red. Ruby-stained wound of a world
warm and diamond-fired for burning beasts.
Three boys in a furnace
swimming like salamanders.

Virtue in these absolutes
– urine, grass, sea, blood.
Count to four and push open the door.
Fresh wing, benign sky and pallid colours.

The spectrum is a compromise.

 

Nicholas Reid

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