Marion McCready




And what do the smash of rhododendrons know?
A squall of them spilling over the wall -
sun driving its heat through the head 
of each flower; a growing shudder 
rusting on the ground below - 
pink stars crumbling on the pavement.


It was the height of summer
and the sun stopped in the head of a bull.

The garden wailing with flowers,
shorn grasses writhing,
birds sniping in the deciduous leaves,
the Clyde breeze sifting through the town.

It was the height of summer
          and the constant light
hurt my eyes, hurt the green poinsettia
on the windowsill.

Then the light hurt everything -
the birds stopped, the shorn grass
stilled, the breeze changed
              All became as the poinsettia,
all dreamed of the darkness,
of our real red selves.


At Glengyle - listen
to the street-cats yowl.

The collared doves' cooing
crawls through the air
with the cries of tired children.

And the wood pile groans -
listen to the rings
of the cut stump moan.

Look to the Rosemary
in the Belfast sink;
look to the bay tree

and to the hand prints
of the rhubarb leaves,
the climbing rose,

and under the gooseberry
where my babies grow.


The rhubarb in the garden hounds me -
its thick pink stalks rising out of the ground
the mound of it grows bigger by the day -
no one will pick it, cook it. Soon it
will suffocate the garden entirely -
its huge flag leaves bend towards me.
I watch it from the window -
wild animal - I hear its music
when the wind blows - a sort of jungle fever -
there is no peace when the rhubarb grows.


Trinities of strawberries.
Brute-red - the little knuckles hang
angry as thunder.

What a wonder they are -
salvaging themselves
every summer without fail
from the bottom of the rotten
green sacks stacked
at the back of the garden.

Strawberries to die for -
sun-bells, green speckled skins
growing beside the red -
like the wheat and the chaff:

one shall be picked for the right
and one shall be picked for the left.


Deadheaded fuchsia flowers,
       like birds feet
and red as war paint,
scattered on the ground.


I walk the circumference of my garden
through long grass and ditch - I stride
past apple trees, cherry saplings, a silver birch,
the pins and thrums of late primroses;
        grappling for room.

Where do the grasses go?
They burn, they burn.
Where do the dandelion puffs blow?
They catch on my tongue,
seed in the air,
bloom in my womb,
grow on my thumb.

It was the height of summer
and the sun stopped in the head of a bull.

MARION MCCREADY lives in Argyll, Scotland. She is a recent recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award (2012/13) and winner of the Melita Hume Poetry Prize (2013). Her first full-length collection, Tree Language, was published in Spring 2014 by Eyewear Publishing.

Read more by Marion McCready:

Three poems at The Poetry Foundation
Four poems at Peony Moon