Day 75

Gulls here again revolve like boomerangs

At Redcar a man shelters in a seafront hut

while a woman discards her cardigan held up

to protect her from storm turns & runs full tilt barefoot

Now & then she shoots her best medusa look


Stay, stay still as stone let me be your shield

you are the shell I found in wet sand

I am the beautiful monster who lives in you.


On the flip side of this an inverted Y shape scar

lines his shirt      chilled he stares at tinseled light hung

above freight ships out of Stockholm–perhaps

chasing a space left by someone flown

gone from flesh to bone to ash fields


lady your dungaree pockets filled with debris

half fled from life my frail mollusc heart still beats

the cry of gulls will wing you here again one day


& In this sudden rush I find him

Long legs aimed at unknown bearing(s)

weak spring rays thread his mane

Home’s journey may last decades

I coil      I hiss      rattle.


©Natalia Spencer 2019

Image Rights: Michael Coghlan 2015







This Journey Terminates at Bristol

IMO Kenneth Hutchinson. ‘A knight to remember’


Hard to believe a decade passed him stumbling from his bed

to login to a sixty year old’s future

Right now I am in first class there’s a tin foil balloon

beside his chair–time suspended on a string


In waterlogged fields along The Tarka Line 

There’s a Great Heron slant eyes fixed on fish

I its memory keeper look to sky

the clouds like ancient dakhma our only storage


This year he should have been seventy

it feels as if the rails stretch to another planet

There’s  a tree up ahead storm crashed

 roots spanning steel complex  ribs


Right now I know Venus is laughing

So many fingers hotwired to text

‘Darling, Sweetheart, Oy Soppy Git’

Line blocked. Your present safe in my knapsack’


©Natalia Spencer 2019

Image Middlesbrough Station 2012











For Kenny, Two months later.

Not far from home, a home where narcissi erect

light through sudden spring a brook twines soft

quacks of mallards grubbing cracked corn

left by person(s) mindful of need

(Even at the end I imagine those curls stood proud off your neck)

That there are two drakes one hen & she

head down is mud sifting does not seem odd

(I wish the man beside me would stop thudding the remains with his boot)

It is a board clamped to hollow bridge rails: Work Pending;

Banks will be shored up to prevent house floods.


©Natalia Spencer 2019

Image rights: Kenneth Hutchinson(d)

69 is not a sexual position

“Man is no star, but a quick coal of mortal fire”George Herbert


We lay there head to toe exhausted

and turning to face me he said

I will take flight on Christmas Eve

& you my dear will feel me as I am now

connected to the universe


For two years we did not speak perverse

I know it was clear love’s narrative

unspoken was dumb

& time flees on a rip tide like flying fish

evading the claw in its dark current


All too soon as I clip white feathered doves

to a neighbours tree abandoned

in favour of more glitz

rain masks a horseman’s approach smug

that I am safe I content myself with nothing


Unseen my joker slink beneath my sheets

& I wake in his arms foul tempered a maelstrom

gut roaring sickness His house empty

the cards lay where they fell

the hearth he stoked begs for more coal


Still blind cold moon folds back on itself

as a flower does in response to black frost

He becomes his own miracle a red edged shape

my starveling pigeon in my kitchen’s heat

homed on the world’s luminous lip


©Natalia Spencer 2019

Dedicated to Kenneth Hutchinson, a staunch ‘non-believer.’

Image rights. K.A.Hutchinson–1949-2018


Bait—A Valentine to a Dead Man

Dedicated to Kenneth Arthur Hutchinson 1949-2018


Somehow we often missed each other

You home after dawn      calloused hands

rope & engine oil left indelible marks


Always there were  nets to repair      lobster creels to collect

important tasks

On Sundays I helped dig lugworm


my nail tips like dark crescents

bad show when usual corporate baloney

drags me out too early


Your woolly sweaters itched not quite clothed skin

I threw you off in mad pursuit

of driving shoes.


should have stayed penned

in Suburbia      forgot

small villages      & log fire pubs


That’s always the honeymooners’ first mistake

return to where      effortless desire    is a cliff car

winched up a steep slope


when we first arrived the cottage

all angles & quirks exhaled dust & mildew

our first rough winter safe from shot up surf


was a birdcage bed     

      & you

quick to please      hip high      at the plug end


We did not notice restless snow flurries start

to obscure a home that would remain blank

impervious without a tongue      I mean a man


could disappear & only the publican

would think the pint he pulled an hour ago

was gaining warmth


except in this case you supplied restaurants

cafes seafood stalls from that rusted

hulk you gave more life to.


Fishermen are all    or zero     whether it’s rod

or boat     the skill grows

fixed as barnacles on a hull


You proved it many times in handling me

lustful      angry     

      snot-nosed      down right obnoxious


Yours was the last year the village heard cannon

thunder sky      radio down      & the lifeboat

on her way back with two bloody stupid surfers


I thought the second flare was for them

not you      ribs open to cold sky

      & if I stay any longer

our beautiful ocean      will close      above my head


It’s much better this way. Some yellow gorse sprigs

(You joked about my scratched thighs)

a handful of purple Armeria     


& your tucked in harbour

shrinking      against the backward glance

from my rear view mirror


©Natalia Spencer 2019