Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2009

Pulling up Deadwood

by Terri Metcalfe

I'm pulling up deadwood,
I think of you: how you stand in your rooted protest,
Yet fall serenely like lily pollen,
Stubborn, staining and beautiful,
Moving always through my mind.
My first and last thoughts of the day are you.
Time: I measure it in the seemingly epic distances
Between when I last heard from you,
And when I might hear from you again.
There's nothing more I can do, though I would.
I'm like a singular crow that hovers unwanted in springtime
I wait - I'm unwavering.
I'm pulling up deadwood,
The monotony brings some peace;
My body must ache more than what beats for you.
But it always recovers; I'll bathe and wait.
I'll go on and toil at this all day
And still I'll sleep with your image again tonight.
I've revealed snowdrops, hyacinth, the first shoots of daffodils
And then I see I'll need to pinch the wallflower
Stop her growing wild and rein her in.
I cover up the rose bed with the dead leaves
Raked as a pastime for remembrance,
A rotting mulch; a silenced loss.
I'm pulling up deadwood
And I wonder what use it ever served
With it's bruised and wasted limbs.
Strange to think they once were alive
And now they're split from the goodness.
I'll throw it on the bonfire because there's no other purpose.

Added: 09.04.2009