Who dove down towards
dicings wearing only a size 32D bra,
sharply – spikily – triform footwear,
and sporting two sprigs of Brythonic hay
inside a pair of skinny-jeans.
Soft-landing onto the coomb of my hands
turning her hourglass tummy
to the huckleberries, white wine, worms,
all laid out for her rioting in expectation…
one colossal gobble later and only a gloriously
bungles about on her excitedly custard-coloured nose.
And if all that’s not enough, well, wearing ass’s ears,
an old Lamb’s-Quarters I’ve planted
with cabbage flowers, weedstalks, Bumblebee-Blossoms
and Fog offers her a doggy-bag-worth of eeks!
squeaks! insectile shrieks!
to be brought back to her cold-water flophouse
on the fifth floor of the alder.
And although the planted Dragon-Fly’s pinafore
I paid for falls open
revealing only mush, although the Fly-Trap
is a plink of heads and droppings
and although she is a traditional woman
in the sense of – she doesn’t do dutch –
she has given me licence to be so much…
wearing only my pointed hat, punting my way
through zombies, dung beetles, skeletons
breezily, beating the wind on my broomstick,
her wind the wings underneath me.
With a forget-me-not fringe,
with a hand on the hagiographical coat
of a polecat, Maria Branwell manufactures cologne
from the spray of Jesus’s-Fingers
pressed in her hand. She is the thing
that gets in your eye – the illiterate planet
of a teardrop that breeds cats
crossing their legs at the ankles – rubbing your face
into the churchdoors. Over this piece of greenwood
the papyrus dustbowl
of the church-calendar
inundates with activity…
and always now, at Gittisham, Queen Camel,
the mitres of stirred-up churchmice
run up your chair:
Maria’s milk-teeth and Sunday bonnet
pointing at your heart.
Note: Maria Branwell (1783-1821) was the mother of the Brontës. Jesus’-Fingers are a West Country name for the Bird’s Foot Trefoil.