Matt Merritt was born in Leicester and now lives in Warwickshire, where he works as a wildlife journalist and writer. He's published four poetry collections: Making The Most Of The Light, Troy Town, hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica, and The Elephant Tests – his two most recent with Nine Arches Press. Matt has also published nature memoir, A Sky Full Of Birds.
after Tim Gallagher
Somewhere the cypress swamps give up their ghosts
and the grail birds emerge to their two-note tattoo,
the distant fanfare of toy trumpets. Mist-smeared mirror
of bottomlands, dark with sweetgum and water tupelo,
catches escape-flight peripheral flicker
that scuds them intact from out of our past.
Somewhere someone is startling at the sound
and sight of things that shouldn’t be. The wires
are humming with righteous incredulity,
discussion of digital artefacts, wingbeat frequency.
But I need to believe that things like this
exist, that something might be borrowed against probability
without incurring any debt, that impossible things
can happen even as we swallow our own small extinctions.
Dusk comes on. The swamps settle for their own version
of silence. Our knocking receives no answer, but we watch
and watch until cold and strain pricks at our eyes.
And there, again, the impossible thought takes flight.
Corpse hounds, he calls them,
each one the soul of a child
taken too soon to be baptised,
or gabble ratchets, with all that suggests
of infernal machines, devices
of a consciousness that bedevils
our gentle swoop into sleep, dying only
in the first confusion of new light.
The Meeting Place
… within us, balanced like a gyroscope, is joy.
from Elegy ~ Tomas Tranströmer
Nothing leads up to it.
No sudden voltage, a whiff of ionized ozone mingling
with diesel, damp cardboard and takeaway grease.
Traffic lights maintain their sequence,
diaries continue to get written
in lamplit bedrooms glimpsed from near-empty
top decks. Timetables are still met. But she is there
at the junction of all things, and at once
the better part of you is persuaded
out of balance. Moments fray to a fine thread.
The past is startled into a sudden eloquence.
Nothing need follow.
Grail Birds: Magma (Issue 75)
Gabble Ratchet: hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica
(Nine Arches Press)
The Meeting Place: Troy Town (Arrowhead Press)