A Woodpecker and Windscreen Wipers

As I chatted about modern poetry to a couple of very interesting women from Malvern who were visiting the garden at Benmore I could hear a woodpecker hammering. Because it’s so quiet here, the woodpecker’s hammering sounded much louder than it does at home.  It seemed to ricochet off the tress and the surrounding hills.

The noise reminded me of the staccato, flap-flap-flap-flap of a specific, and very rickety,  set of windscreen wipers, that I encountered on a day much less sunny than this.  I was… well I’ll let the poem below tell you all about it.

Joy riding

On a morning in Lent, dense with rain,
even with the wipers going it’s not easy
to see the Amu Darya.

You promised so much:
tall herons like statues guarding
reed beds; the stark concrete slope of the dam.

We should both be at work, trying
to make other people rich, not talking
about Rembrandt and miracles.

The car is borrowed
and you bought the flask
in Kiev, on a day much sunnier than this.

When you unscrew its lid,
steam from your favourite jasmine tea
swathes mist across your glasses.

You take them off. It is a shock
to be kissed, to see your eyes
unmagnified.

 Sue Butler

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