INDIGO DREAMS PUBLISHING LTD
GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2021
Andy Brown is Professor of English & Creative Writing at Exeter University and widely-known as a poet and writing tutor. His many poetry books include Casket (Shearsman 2019); Bloodlines (Worple, 2018); Exurbia (Worple, 2014); The Fool and the Physician (Salt, 2012); Goose Music (with John Burnside, (Salt, 2008) and Fall of the Rebel Angels: Poems 1996-2006 (Salt, 2006), among others. He co-edited A Body of Work: an anthology of poetry and medicine (Bloomsbury, 2016) and edited The Writing Occurs As Song: a Kelvin Corcoran reader (Shearsman, 2015).
Marc Woodward’s chapbook A Fright of Jays was published by Maquette Press in 2015 and his first full collection, Hide Songs, by Green Bottle Press in 2018. He has published poems in a wide variety of magazines, anthologies and websites and has performed his work regularly. He is also a highly respected musician and an internationally known mandolin player.
Marc Woodward and Andy Brown regularly perform live music together
as The SKPs.
138 x 216mm
£10.00 + P&P UK
The Tin Lodes
Andy Brown & Marc Woodward
'The Tin Lodes' is a collaboration between two poets living around the Teign estuary in South Devon.
To the west lies Dartmoor and the source of the river;
to the east: the coast and the English Channel.
These poems distill the natural, human and industrial history of the area and consider the many anonymous lives that have inhabited it.
This is a sympathetic and enlightening study which places a beautiful region in a global context,
ringing with lyricism.
THE SURFER KING
This is my last request of those I love:
I’m wiped out now – carry me to the cove,
not on my surfboard, but a wicker chair,
then point me at the sea and leave me there.
I’ll sit and count each fabled seventh wave
then gather beach glass washed from mermaids’ graves
with which I’ll open up my arteries
and let my weary blood flow to the sea.
Poseidon falling from Atlantic highs
come take my heart for a halibut’s eye.
Let my rib cage form a sieve of baleen
to skim all plastic, leave the oceans clean.
Take my demented brain for isinglass.
Repurpose me. This is my wish. My last.
THE OLD BOATYARD
He measured out the working day in tea breaks,
his rambling dock piled high with tools and motors;
a flock of anchors stacked against the wall;
jerry cans of two-stroke, engine oil;
discarded prop-shafts, boss caps and, to one side,
rusting under tarps beneath the windows,
their panes obscured by webs and smuts of grease…
the deconstructed heart of some old cruiser.
Work could always wait until the tea
had brewed – the biscuits dunked – then he would dig
his boots and spanner out and disappear
inside a hull, to jump start the machine.
Now there’s a prefab; a steel & glass cabin.
Some new bloke with a clipboard and a rota.
A river flowed into my township last night.
It wasn’t Alice Oswald’s Dart, or Wordsworth’s Thames,
or Raymond Carver’s river that he loved
the way some men love horses or glamorous women.
And it wasn’t John Milton’s stream at the foot of Paradise
with Satan cloaked in rising mist.
Nor was it T.S. Eliot’s river
flowing under the crowds flowing over the bridge,
or Johnson’s Fleet Ditch full of unspeakable turds.
It wasn’t Carl Sandburg’s Desplaines
with its party of happy Hungarians
drinking wine and playing accordions,
or Dylan Thomas’s river, in October,
counting off his years towards heaven.
Nor was it Anthony Wilson’s river,
down at the mouth of the Exe
with all its sucking cledge and ooze and sluice,
or Auden’s brimming river singing songs
of love and loss one evening
as it rolled indifferently through the city,
or even Joyce’s Liffey running
a way a lone a last a loved a long the…
It was none of these. Neither Neruda’s,
nor Shakespeare’s with its willows aslant,
nor Keats’s with its choir of mourning gnats
borne aloft among the sallows. No…
It was just a river. A river
that had run here, seemingly forever,
through the valley, over the mudflats
round the curving oxbow of the harbor
and out of my life
There were guards on the bridge spanning the Oder –
one side Slubice, the other East Germany.
They smiled at my mother and called to her
to have a cigarette, pass a little time.
She laughed, gently declined and we walked on
along the bank to where the daffodils grew wild.
My mother let go of my hand so she could pick
and I could run. As I ran I would brush
the swaying blooms with my small palms.
I’ve never felt so free again.
Back on the bridge
a guard whistled. Beside us the steady river
wound away my mother’s cares.
Now every spring
I come to England to work in the fields picking daffodils.
I wear gloves and mostly don’t recall
how those bobbing yellow heads blessed my hands.
Mostly I bend and pick, determined and quick,
moving from row to row.
But sometimes I drink and think then
of that border town and the Oder,
quietly unwinding, grey and slow,
the whistling guard,
the small daffodils of home.
The levee broke and the flatlands flooded
up to the farmhouse door. A cow swam by
and all manner of stuff floated round.
For six green months she’d sat in her room,
looked out across the constant meadows,
watched cattle come and go, taking their turn,
saw seagulls stamping turf to summon worms.
The rooks grew feather trousers, balding beaks,
while slowly the levee was springing leaks,
bulging for a thunderstorm to snap.
For all that time her mind was parched
and to slake some kind of thirst she lay
down in a deluge of poor-boy music.
Stolen blues and songs of desolation.
Now the levee had burst she might move on.
When the water drained. She was just dry,
Hardtack dry. In need of rehydration.
At low tide
a wide sandbank
rises in the river.
A flat Salty
where gulls mine
and the oystercatchers’ skirl
sails the water.
On cockle-bucket days
we canoe to this island
beach our boats and stay
on the wave-slapped sand
until the new tide washes us away.
When the ayot breaches
on black-glass nights
it cracks the moon’s mirror
into stippled lace.
Lost and reclaimed,
midnight to noon,
this sea-given land,
this land in the call of the moon.
The Dark Acre
The cleves above the oggin glower
in the dimmet evening, as if cursed
by the Dewer himself. Dinder
rolls across the tors. The sky is owdry.
By morning an ammil of ice will glaze
the leaves that hang across the taw
this spring melt. Soon, perhaps,
the tawds will leave toddies in puddles.
Along the holloway a brock
disappears through the unket shord
where the craw at the wind-bent kone
taunts the mommet scaring birds;
where the past’s lie-a-biers are mired
in clobb, in clats of earth, on this dark acre.
My mother gave my father’s body back
inside a plastic bottle filled with grit.
I scattered it from boulders on Hay Tor
where they had honeymooned in sixty one.
She took her husband’s ashes on the plane
and flew them to a beach just north of Perth –
a landmark in the story of themselves
where she entrusted them to southern seas.
Standing on the shoreline by the harbour,
deep currents mingle at the river’s mouth…
I’m waiting for the elements to bring
my father’s wandering body back together:
a fleck of heart on cold winds from the hills,
a mote of bone on currents from the south.
Cover design from an original painting
‘Woods above the River Teign, at Fingle Bridge’
by James Tatum. Copyright, James Tatum, SWAc www.jamestatumartist.com