Poetry Showcase by Margaret Royall

body of water under cloudy sky during sunset

photo by Etienne Delorieux (unsplash)

Harvest Supper – a Sestina

When skies bloom indigo at close of day 
the tall trees of my childhood summon me
to wander through the meadows by the stream
and watch the water vole dive from the bank
as nature hunkers down for timely rest
and silent owls swoop low across the fields

Long hours today we worked in harvest fields
to stack the sheaves in rows by close of day.
Now harvest supper beckons, offers rest
for weary hands; my father calls to me 
to go secure the boat moored on the bank, 
prevent the current sweeping it downstream

Task done I watch the fireflies as they stream
from underneath the bridge across the fields
Then suddenly a creature on the  bank
alerts my gaze, a fox I see each day,
quite tame, he seems to have no fear of me
yet rushes off to hunt, no time for rest.

Most farmhands have arrived; I watch the rest 
come hurrying out, from everywhere they stream
to join the celebrations, and for me
it’s time to leave the river, cross the fields,
sit down to eat, enjoy this holiday,
forsake the whispering trees and quiet bank.

I crave roast turkey, yet I cannot bank
on what they’ll serve tonight; at least the rest
is distributed to the poor next day.
They’ll wait in huddles by the village stream
then laden down stroll back home through the fields,
chatting and smiling, calling out to me.

The farmer’s wife comes over, questions me,
 asks if I saw the red fox on the bank
 go leaping headlong through the stubble fields
 before he ran off home for well-earned rest.
 I tell her how I watched him by the stream, 
 swear that he grows more tame each passing day. 

A  supper in the fields is fine by me.
I’d eat there every day upon the bank
and take a rest, sit gazing at the stream.

In the Steps of Picasso
Ekphrastic Poem on his painting ‘Mother and Child by a Fountain’

Blue Madonna with indigo child;
a vision paused in time.
She lingers deep in thought 
by a life-giving fountain,
the babe is her arms is every child,
innocence swaddled in anonymity.
She is Gaia, universal mother,
birthing both joy and sorrow.
Her tears are the flowing wellhead water, 
freely shed for all humanity.
Blank faces convey a myriad possibilities, 
no finer details needed.
Ours to interpret.

Goddess in a Mediterranean Heatwave

I am a goddess rising from foaming waves,
spume braiding a lacy web around my limbs,
resplendent in Salacian nakedness.

Shingle clings in gooey stickiness
to ankles and toes. Pre-raphaelite curls stream
in arabesque down my back, a waterfall on fire.

On days of sultry heat from a witches’ cauldron
I throw on a simple kaftan, sashay barefoot 
to market, flesh free of cloying underwear, 

yet suitably hiding my modesty from the world;
alive to the sun spilling its life-giving force from a 
cloudless counterpane of cornflower blue.

High summer presages a bohemian lifestyle.
Oh to espouse that Mediterranean vibe, that
abandonment to the whims of a manyana code.

Yet, sadly, it’s just a dream, a wistfulness that
glances across closed eyelids on summer nights;
an alter ego slighted by deep-seated conformity

Midnight in a Parisian bar
Inspired by Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’  

Alone, yet somehow connected,
perching like birds on branches,
gracefully alighting, then 
frozen in the moment.

They share the weight of history,
each one an island yet part of 
an archipelago, a co-dependency,
where numbness is the shared reality.

In the dim light boredom
illuminates an average clientele, 
tarrying awhile, procrastinating,
choosing light over darkness,

the communality of silence over 
grim solitude; here enjoying a lack 
of constraint, freedom to just be
in the moment, brain disengaged.

The outsider finds no refuge, no door
through which he may enter, seek solace,
linger with a beverage or cigarette and dream…
These birds are nesting in an exhibition,

wings framed against the darkness,
their saviour of the hour a lowly 
bar-tender, a dove of peace with crested 
white plumage and mimed repartee.

If the clock moves on and we stare in
through the prison of glass, the birds may
start to interact, glance up from coffee and book
as the white dove makes a cryptic comment.

People-watching at Essaouira Harbour

Early morning       fishing boats docking
storm flash reds     sunset ochres.    purple patches      
                 jazz hand sails flashing 

All vying for prime position to offload their catch.
Fishermen hollering fit to deafen Jimmy Hendrix’ memory,
air thick with psychedelic hum

And then      the first call to prayer,
outdoing even the piercing seagull cries.

                    Two youths in jeans and converse boots 
                     fooling around on the sea wall like
                     tightrope walkers  -
                     the epitome of contemporary cool, 
                     swinging my camera into action,
                     firing the synapses in my brain.

And then again      that urgent call to prayer,
that dogged insistence, impossible to ignore!

                         Below the wall, two figures
                         stride across rough slabs, 
                         heads into the wind –
                         as though mirroring the boys above -
                               Berbers in djellabas
                                         vapour trails of oud 
                                                     streaming behind

                          My camera clicks      quick-fire shots
                          momentarily catching them together 
                          yet soon parted, like ships in the night
                           I switch to video   run alongside filming

And yet again      that persistent call, 
drowning out the harbour cacophony, 
like biblical cockcrow…..     
           yet a thousand times thrice!

Bio: Margaret is a poet with six published poetry books: most recently a poetry collection, Immersed in Blue, Earth Magicke, (both from Impspired Press), two poetry collections, Fording The Stream (2017, independently published), Where Flora Sings (2020, Hedgehog Press), a Stickleback micro-chapbook Singing The Earth Awake,( Hedgehog Press Oct 2019)  and a memoir in prose and verse, The Road To Cleethorpes Pier (2020, Crumps Barn Studio). She has been shortlisted for several poetry prizes, won the Hedgehog Press’ collection competition (May 2020) and that collection Where Flora Sings was nominated for the Laurel Prize. She has been widely published in journals and online, most recently Impspired, Open Door, Flights ( Dragonfly) Dreich , Black Bough Poetry and forthcoming in Sarasvati.

Margaret leads a poetry group in Nottinghamshire and is a regular performer at open mic events. She is currently writing her first novel and working on a third poetry collection.

Author blog page:Facebook.com/margaretbrowningroyall
Instagram: meggiepoet 
Website: margaretroyall.com 

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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