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Poem by Ben Wilkinson

One of the pleasures of running a blog (as in running a paper, pace Kane) is that overheads are low - but the keenest and truest is that one can say anything - or better, still, offer anything read or said by others - to you, the mysterious reader in the splendid ether.

So it was a treat for me to recently come across the writings of one Mr. Ben Wilkinson (pictured), and find much there to appreciate and share - from his musings on pop music to poetry on his blog http://deconstructivewasteland.blogspot.com/. He'a young poet well deserving of your time. Eyewear gladly welcomes him here in this liminal January week after the new year's rites of passage.

Wilkinson is a poet and undergraduate at the University of Sheffield. Much of his time is currently taken up by research for a dissertation on the New Generation Poets of 1994, primarily the work of Simon Armitage, Don Paterson, and Carol Ann Duffy. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various magazines, including Dream Catcher, Poetry Review, The Frogmore Papers, and The Interpreter’s House. He has been a huge fan of the Smashing Pumpkins (as I am) since his early teens and plays the electric guitar.


Byroads


i

Hanging baskets frosted white
in the orange blur of a maple wood dusk,
ice stalactites rigid towards the pavements.

The firing of some gun from the woods’
clearing. A bus rumbles on, coughing,
and a local makes his turn at the pub’s carpark.


ii

The village shop’s newsboard pleas
bears pictures of twenty-somethings
last seen by a farmer, a dog walker,

fourish on the forest’s edge: a thick fog lingering,
spores shrouding the milling groups of deer. Ahead,
the brook ends near to where the search began.


iii

Ploughed into the limestone wall
of a roadside house, the yellow
Beetle’s bonnet kinks sharply out,

torn, the police at the kerbside, directing
traffic and taking statements. The borderline
where post boxes change from red to green.


iv

Hillside housing estates flicker with lights,
clamping shut against the winter’s cold.
The backfields fold between them

and a stretched A-road; ice, potholes, nettled bushes,
a makeshift sign saying ‘No Golf’. The grass peters out
to bracken, cat’s eyes flickering through the foliage.

poem by Ben Wilkinson
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