Poetry | Harry Clough

In the churchyard

behind my childhood home
there’s a forgotten path
underneath yew needles
and blackberry thorns
that falls down
through a fence
to the old railway line.

I only realised that
the path was made from
worn and cracked headstones
when I chased after a fox
slipping away
to sniff for beetles
beneath the sleepers.

Crouched and pursuing
on all fours, fingers still
sticky from a doughnut,
I saw their names
and almost their faces;
Dr Ian Heath…
Elizabeth Dowden and her daughter Alice…

and some faded to obscurity,
as invisible as I thought I was,
crouched and pursuing
the only wild animal
I’d seen in months.

The last summer holiday

We followed
the river Burn
along paths strewn
with ochre dye,
above the estuary
where boats slept
like dead trees,
stopping to watch
a plague of
cinnabar caterpillars
mustering for an
assault on nearby
sea holly,
marsh mallow,
until the hard path
sagging with our groans
and dragging deck chairs
and cooler boxes
turned wooden boards
turned sand
and marram grass
turned blue and white
teal and azure
and endless.

Harry Clough is a queer poet living in Edinburgh and studying a Creative Writing MSc at the University of Edinburgh. In between running 1744km for charity this year, Harry writes ecopoetry and poems about natural spaces, childhood memories, sunsets and sunrises ( a slight poetic obsession). Retirement to the Lake District is his dream in life so if you see him there in forty years time you’ll know he’s made it.

Twitter: @PinkClough

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