Nothing Like
‘How sweet it is, when mother Fancy rocks
The wayward brain, to saunter through a wood!’
Shattered light among trees cut
the upturned faces of celandine, silenced
the tongues of wild garlic and last year’s
fossil-rotted leaves wheezing like a cross old man.
An exiled tyre slowly, temple-slow, lost
purpose below the fence post’s wired field
where, above its shadow, a lone oak’s
doomed buds obeyed the dying sun of spring.
Not one among the avian operas of hope
told to the tin-shone sky in its gauche blue coat
covered a single note of my progress,
till a blackbird’s warning cracked
the deafening shell I broke through
to the empty nest of a silent morning.
Water flitted far and fast from every foot
I took in pointless dance of wooing it.
It giggled from the falls in front and whistled
from the willow bank back the way I came. Last
I saw, it was carrying on round the bend
with froth and dipping fronds and bold hard rock,
with scurries pinched by shadow, and the long louche touch of root.
Still puckered its lips by the weir to blow a kiss at me.
Then gone, pure flirt, run off with memory.
Came alone and left that way, nothing like me there.

Craig Dobson has been published in The London Magazine, The North, The Rialto, Agenda, Stand, New Welsh Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Under the Radar, Orbis, Butcher’s Dog, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Frogmore Papers and Poetry Daily, and been featured in the Bad Kid Catullus and Boscombe Revolution pamphlets.