I am delighted to share two environmental poems by Lesley Quayle. These poems arose from projects she worked on alongside Friends of the Earth and Transport 2000, trying to combat the industrialisation of greenbelt and an AONB. Remember, if you appreciate a poet’s work the best support you can give is to purchase their books. You can buy Lesley’s chapbook, Children of Lesser Gods, from erbacce-press at only £3.99!
They sit behind tables,
reminiscent of school-dinner times,
except the water is Evian
and there’s a finger buffet, ‘No Smoking’ signs.
They are grey and bored,
having to be there, borrowing their bonhomie
from the corporate manual,
cautious of being caught out by easy questions;
the hard ones are pre-empted,
they have designer phrases for them.
They are tired of us before we have even started,
who think fields more important than profit,
their collective fatigue
forewarns of plans already set in concrete,
this haggling’s only a token gesture
from those averse to compromise,
their ceremonies have been held,
they already know the delicate secrets.
The strip lights drone,
conditioned air scrapes our throats
till the skins of our voices are shed
and fade like worn parchment.
From her chapbook, Songs For Lesser Gods (erbacce-press) , first published at Tears in the Fence.
Here are the merely humdrum hills,
with their frowse of mist, small mounds
dissolving on a rim of sky,
wind-stunted trees, picked bare,
behind stone walls.
Here on the city’s edge,
not soaring fells nor wild, untrammelled
scarps of snow – a discourse of bumps,
pulpits of grass, upturned keels
of earth and grit.
Here we walk, sit looking out
across the nesting houses, factories
and roads, while children roll
down littered slopes in the ancestral lea
of those before.
Here, the only undeveloped green
that eyes can see for miles, where shoeless
feet can press and cool, feel soil through toes
freewheel down cinder-tracks with north wind
scouring lungs and skin.
Here are the men with fences,
the inquest on freedom over and done
their lies acquitted in purple prose,
reminding us we have no say –
showing their teeth.
Here are the latecomers
wringing their hands, weeping,
crying cheat and foul – but there’s no amnesty.
Torn poster on a fence, a pennant on a grave –
Lesley Quayle is a poet and folk/blues singer currently living in the wilds of rural Dorset. Her poems have been widely published in magazines such as Tears in the Fence, The Rialto, The North, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Prole, Angle, High Windows etc and she was a winner of the BBC Wildlife Magazine Poet of the Year. She has also written for the Yorkshire Post on rural issues and contributed poems to The Morning Star and Spectator.