“Sequence in Green” and other poems by Gillian Prew

Sequence in Green

(i) breaths

Like in lights/breaths		the woodwind song
meets the trees. A green growth/
a rush of roots/	   birds.

	Summer-swell/the flowered edges
of day breaking.

(ii) buds

Hills of green shadow and butter-gorse.

	The dead
made of dry stalks
with all their buds inside them.

(iii) bones

Green lifts and stitches-in	Perfumes/ 
summering		Silver-back
gull, wind-scuffed, sun-buried/ 	

with a still-feathered skull, 

each puffed-out wing fragrant with oxygen/
each jade-eye a salty stone

	peering keen

to the wound of the shore
sown with olive pods polished as knuckle bones.

(iv) blood

Emerald, in your daybed of flowers
trapping all the shucked-light of the sun
as sugar/as oxygen/
as diamonds/
as blood.

Ideogram for Red

after Alice Oswald

In a shadow, an invisible red
where the first flower sounds.

 and red-through in all directions.

Underfoot - roots.	

Blood. A claw of wood.

Red becomes a red-rush/ the flash of a robin’s breast
in a splay of autumn blades.

	Red rising with the sun/
without bearings         vanishing 
in the outbloom of light.

Struggling, like each colour to be seen
red bursts with the fury of a firework	  	folds herself
	into herself

fails for a season.

Sequence in Green is © Gillian Prew

from The Black Stanzas


(i) a yoke of blood/my iris-eye

Too narrow and grief/stressed by what the toil has tied me to/
a yoke of blood and the weeping flies. All-droop
the black leaking/the drip of wet dust being born. Sun,
the magic sleeper roofed-out and black. Black again
men’s hearts/winter hearts/bags of breathless black.
First spring snowdrop from my iris-eye blooming here
on the concrete/its white-scented sisters a wood away.

(ii) a road of blood/a dome of cold

Like snow on the moon the cold tucked-in all glass
and weeping winter motes/a road of blood/ of red-
pepper tones tucked-up in a dome of cold. Blue,
the silent summer throats hooked and stuck. Hauled/
black salts/the wounds of weak indifference gold.

(iii) the crush of life/the food I am

A scrape/a stun/a sticking knife. The crush of life/
the food I am. Up-bent and ruined red. Red into
the sticking black. Shut-down and meat/no epitaph.

(iv) a black hole/a blue planet

Is to slow darken/is to stagger,                 spin.
Myself nothing/a truckload of me nothing/
a black hole of us fading. A pinhole of sky
a blue planet/an eye.

(v) an echo of light/a crimson splatter

In a place of grief – light an echo of light –
black rhythms pulse a half-death in
the glass hours of overwintering. Spring
buds a crimson splatter/blooms out
pollen-spiced/world breathing green
beyond the slaughterhouses.

(vi) their bud-fists/their black-stamens

Each bold bone rooting/forming their green spines
their bud-fists, their hidden light. Stacked-up wounds
blooming red upon red/ a season of blood-letting.
Flowers/risen-out/watercolour wounds in the spring rains.
The clavicle-curves of the tulip basins softer than bone/
their black-stamens fastened in like nails.
First published at Bone Orchard Poetry

downloadBorn Stirling, Scotland in 1966, Gillian Prew studied Philosophy at the University of Glasgow from 1984 to 1988.Her chapbook, DISCONNECTIONS, can be purchased from erbacce-press (2011) and another chapbook, in the broken things, published by Virgogray Press (2011). Her poetry can be found at Vayavya, The Poetry Shed, A New Ulster, The Open Mouse, Ink, Sweat & Tears, ‘ditch’, and From Glasgow to Saturn among others. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and has twice been short-listed for the erbacce-prize. Her collection Throats Full of Graves, has been published in 2013 by Lapwing Publications. Her collection A Wound’s Sound was published Oneiros Books in April 2014.  She lives in Argyll with her partner, children and cat.



Restlessly Driven by Leaves by Gillian Prew 
Three Colours Grief by Gillian Prew