Soil (A Poem)

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He dug deep in the soil,
the loam and silt of a fertile marsh;
from a long line of broken-back men,
inured to suffering and pain,
consistent with their DNA
from far distant crescents.
The men who toiled and fed the idle,
who gave their all to generations,
many to rot in the quagmires
of pointless conflicts, or like him —
alone, prostrate in his garden.

Copyright Francis 2021

Poem: ‘Mother & Child’

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Of course
you were always there;
I still see those dark eyes
like warm pools of love,
such intimacy poisoning
nearby attention.
And whilst jealousy
and estrangement
have enmeshed silence
around us ever since —
family is everything,
it’s all we have to
fall back on,
to stand up to those
moving to destroy us.
So mother, I honour you,
archetype in my mind,
fulcrum of my heart:
And may siblings forgive
each other.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

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Poem: Benjamin

baby sitting on man s shoulder
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Benjamin is the younger son
and I am your youngest.
The little things meant the most:
A bike trip to collect samphire from the marsh.
We saw Boston Stump rising from the mists,
perpendicular to that great horizon
in a silence broken only
by a lone redshank’s cry.
Years later when you gave me that last look;
just a glance which said so much –
that you didn’t want me to go.
None of us want to go, or even know when
but I’m sure you had an inkling
you’d soon leave this succession of goodbyes

copyright Francis Barker 2019