3 poems by Phil Barnett

Phil Barnett has had a lifelong passion for the natural world. In particular for the area of countryside outside his front door in South Lancashire – ‘The Patch.’ He expresses this through music, painting, photography, and more recently writing prose and poetry. https://www.microcosmic.info/


without tv or news or clocks

time is measured in white horses

in the field below

the morning brings a new alignment

they are enacting all the prepositions 

in front of, behind, next to

and some that only horses know

the stations of the horse

two entangled particles play out

a stately ballet on the clockface field

clouds attracted by a strong force

and repelled by a weak one

cumulusly billowing, melding, reforming

waves from two distant shores 

breaking, each, one upon the other

on the next day, they do adverbs of time

before, after, a long time ago

a very very long time ago

and on the last day 

they’re performing verbs

galloping, slowing, resting, lying down

leaving the house for the last time

I turn tail, to see a waft of white smoke

that turns into a tail, then two of them

twirling, tick-tocking the seconds

or is it the years


I rounded the crest

skirting the top

sitting windward on a slope

I made a cairn of myself

and that’s where I was

I picked a way through brambles

deerstepping over thorns

legs souvenired in blood

I stopped

and found myself there

through the spring-frothed wood

green, so green it’s yellow

ivy scaffold on hornbeam

beech and brother beech

I was there

so that’s where I was


the mist came down last night, came in softness

between here and Winter Hill, a drowned world

just spires and treetops jutting out above;

archipelago in Pacific fog

grey but lustrous – has eroded edges

all the gaps are filled with mother of pearl

the middle-willow distance gone over, 

lightly stippled with a softening brush

so watercolours run, bleeding into

tump-grassy nearby and all that’s behind

words are becoming detached, corner first

shaking free, the children are leaving home

what used to be a branch is shedding nouns

twig, leaf, acorn, and bark have now all gone 

borders dissolved and separation smudged

all of it replaced with a sea of this

the sun comes at last, pooling rosy mist

white whips tilt and float up, slow and stately 

a flock of birds drops down, reattaching 

returning back to things, the birds are words

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The Blue Nib believes in the power of the written word, the well-structured sentence and the crafted poetic phrase. Since 2016 we have published, supported and promoted the work of both established and emerging voices in poetry, fiction, essay and journalism. Times are difficult for publishers, and The Blue Nib is no exception. It survives on subscription income only. If you also believe in the power of the written word, then please consider supporting The Blue Nib and our contributors by subscribing to either our print or digital issue.

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