Helen Moore, Featured Poet


HONEY PUMP GHAZAL

After Joseph Beuys & Bee United! Malls Mire Community Wood, Glasgow


In all directions there is flowing honey –
& here in the wood, community is bonding with honey.


Listen! Nettle minarets are rising from Winter’s muddy wreckage
as small, feathered muezzins call prayers sweeter than honey.


From scrubby Hawthorns green scriptures are unfolding,
& over them jaws of browsing Deer move smoothly as honey.


Where Urban Roots have set up hives, worker Bees return
with dusty yellow legs & stomachs full of honey.


As on many Glasgow days, Sun and rain come and go –
the steamy warmth like Bees fanning water from honey. 


Once the wild boys of Govanhill, Amir, Kamal, Sajid volunteer 
to raise marquees, while laughter spreads like honey.  


Dressed in a furry black & yellow suit, young Abdullah clowns 
with childish puns – raw Weegie humour ripening like honey.


Through the trees children’s carefree leaping over logs
is a supple rise & fall like the yearly cycle of honey.


Around the wood, people forage fresh, tender edibles
as kids pick up litter – a give-back that’s savoured like honey.


My hand-carved spoon is by turns in every child’s hand –
mixing wild herb pakora like the hive making honey.


Gathered in a circle, neighbours of faith & none are stirred
by the spell of Qur’an – Madinah’s recitation potent as honey. 


Expectant faces round the fire, & the healing power of honey 
an ecopoet admires.  In all directions we are one with honey.
 


 

RETIRED BOOTS IN SPRING

For RHLM


Boots you got me long ago will soon be sprouting blooms –
a pale pirouette of Crocuses, I think.


Late January, day nudging night into retreat, soft leaves 
of Woodbine unbudding;


& where collars hugged my ankles, pale-green periscopes 
now probe a foot of mulch.


Eyelets still stand proud on each, a pair of wobbly, brass ‘V’s; 
but with laces gone, uppers cracked, 


tongues darkly misshapen (like those of butchered Cattle), 
what ways to honour foot-service 


of more than twenty years, or creatures killed for meat 
& for their skins?


Bundles of nerve-endings in both, these sorry, ticklish feet 
went far so well enclosed –


high on Blencathra’s saddle in fierce winds, hailstones & Sun 
they knew Skiddaw’s folds & peaks,


expansive snowy fells, the long, blue knives of shadow.  
Often as we climbed, I’d fail to match


your stamina & stride, while struggling in those elements
I needed ground beneath my steps –


so this walking meditation, adapted from a line in Psalms
To the hills I go from whence cometh my strength.


Evenings our boots would rest stuffed with yellow news 
side-by-side beneath the aga. Then smearing them 


with dubbin, your vigorous brush 
assured their supple toughness.  


Now only bulbs restore the spring to these retired boots, 
while Crocus ballet will express all my love & thanks.


Helen Moore Sparrows1
Helen Moore

About the contributor

Helen Moore is an award-winning British ecopoet and socially engaged artist currently based in Sydney. She has published three poetry collections, Hedge Fund, And Other Living Margins (Shearsman Books, 2012), ECOZOA (Permanent Publications, 2015), acclaimed by the Australian poet John Kinsella as “a milestone in the journey of ecopoetics”, and in 2019, The Mother Country (Awen Publications), exploring British colonial history and themes of personal, social and ecological dispossession. In 2018 Helen gave the annual INSPIRE lecture at the Hay Book Festival, based on her award-winning essay ‘Is love the answer?’. www.helenmoorepoet.com

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