4 poems by Eveline Pye

PAINTING THE FRONT DOOR

The first thing a visitor sees 

that crack in the mouth 

of my home taking the mick

groaning every time he’s opened 

claiming to be a hundred and twenty  

insisting old timber needs shielding. 

It takes hours to prepare the door

clean the wound with sugar soap 

flake off paint chips and splinters 

with a gentle plastic scraper

stroke him with a damp tack cloth

sand down his rough edges.

I watch videos on YouTube,  

choose wood filler with care

warn him he’ll lose the power

of speech, promise he’ll be pain free

wait for a sunny day to fill

the narrow gash, smooth it over.

I seal the frame, cover him 

in two coats of oil-based black 

burnish his Victorian brass 

with salt, vinegar and baking soda. 

The oiled hinges are silent but 

I know he’s in there, somewhere.

NOT SO MUCH DYING AS …

spl int er ing 

small thin sharp 

slivers of bone

break off    embed 

in new generations

carry a skelf of dna 

on to infinity

d  i  s  s  i  p  a  t  i  n  g 

dandelion clocks

spreading achenes

feathery pappi

surrender to 

a random puff of air

passing on           joy 

a tight-packed firework

ignited by flame

bursting its bonds

erupting in a crosette

of colour and light

reframing death as

a parting gift 

a place on earth

freely given

to those you know

and those you 

will never know

LOCAVORE
from Latin: locus- local; vorare – eating

Organic beets dusted in dry mud,

watercress, swiss chard, cavalo nero,

intricate spirals of romanesco,

mushrooms smelling of deep earth

nestled in brown crumpled paper,

a hairy bumpy turnip,

identified later as celeriac –

dropped off in a cardboard box. 

I discarded the glossy images 

in cookery books, played 

with new combinations, gloried

in trial and error, the sensations 

on lips and tongue; sweet, sour, salty, 

sometimes bitter – mouth poetry.

CLEMATIS

After a few months, I lost hope, 

the climber which brightened my view 

of the garage wall, shrivelled, died. 

I waited beyond my fear of frost, 

bought a new large-flowered variety,

the fast-growing Pink Fantasy.

It offered abundance, unfurling stars,

tepals with bars of deep rose,

dusky red anthers and filaments.

Poised to plant it out, I glimpsed 

tiny shoots unfurling in the long grass 

at the end of the lawn, Clematis Justa.

I tried to dig it out but my hands refused 

to grasp the trowel. It had given me so much.

I felt its painful struggle back to life.

The new plant still stands in my kitchen

pot-bound, roots turning in on itself

while my old love bursts its buds in the sun.

About the contributor

Eveline Pye's collection, Smoke That Thunders, was published by Mariscat Press (2015), and, from it, the poem ‘Mosi-Oa-Tunya’ was chosen for the Twenty Best Scottish Poems of that Year. Her new collection of poems on the STEM subjects, STEAM, will be published by Red Squirrel Press next year.

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