i Prelude

Fawn whiskers fleck mucky kitchen mats.
I open the door to a chucked tarpaulin sky.
A bronze leaf shivers like a basking butterfly.

ii Jackknife Ballet

After Tebay, the cloud's road-hued,
it smears spitting mizzle
that blears rubies of brake-lights.
I queue with the mincing mini-bus,
the clattering, rattling trailer.
Then we stop altogether. Vast twin artics,
serried and stepped with gunmetal girders
heave to, and haul about,
at Pikestone road end.
We gather on the bridge
for the jackknife ballet. We're in the gods,
far above the Lune,
the West Coast Main Line and the M6.

iii Angels

The riverside walkway to Bridge Mills
is flooded with lemon light:
unseen sun
gilds a limestone world.

Curlicues of creeper
clasp trodden leaves
like dead saffron butterflies
preserved in tar.

Silver railings' mottled limbs
cage slender grey boughs
limned by frail graved brass.

At the final rise
two angels appear
out of air:
heads and hair gold-leaf-haloed;
torsos shot and shimmered,
ringed and fringed, with fire,
in air.


Neil Scott