The clearing by Stewart Carswell

Stewart Carswell is from the Forest of Dean. He currently lives and works and writes in Cambridge. His poems have recently been published in Envoi, Lighthouse, and Ink Sweat & Tears, and included in Best New British and Irish Poets 2016. His debut pamphlet, Knots and branches, is published by Eyewear.  


The clearing


Each clearing opens with a death:

a great oak stumped by a gale.

                         Jagged splinters

jutting up from the base,

the rest of the trunk

lying down in the space

between two neighbours. Bow down

at its end.


                  A spotlight

directed through the new gap in the canopy

illuminates this clearing. Watch this

dying scene. It’s important to know

how light is cast. The collapse,

the breakdown made this happen. I’m sorry

it had to be you.




Stewart Carswell