Even at three she sees through me,
a look that pares three decades’ head start.
But she doesn’t carp,
just resumes her drawing, head inclined.
I see that she was born
fully formed, a sure sense of herself.
She has a strength in dignity,
but there’s no limit to her affection.
She likes to write her name,
dance, take photographs.
Sometimes, I think she remembers
every moment of her life:
what she wore, what was said,
how much she laughed.
I’m sorry for the sky
whose blue capitulated to black.
I apologise for the sea
whose high tide erased my sand words.
Forgive me for the breeze;
its gentle whisper blew to a roar.
I regret that the summer’s
bright days turned grey.
it was another world.
Flea Circus sequence
As the crowd gathered
around the flea circus,
squinting to see the
performers, he watched
the spectators scratching.
With a wave the flea
leapt into the cannon.
We all waited for
a passing dog.
The flea who could
walk a tightrope and
ride a unicycle was
paid in blood money.
Granny Went Missing
Mum rang around, knocked on doors,
walked the streets, scoured the precinct
combed the aisles of Co-op and Gateway.
By early evening she was ready to
call the police…and then the phone rang.
I’m in Leeds – don’t make a fuss.
Bored of pension day queues, The Radio Times,
her tin of stale biscuits, she’d caught
the National Express from Digbeth.
Coach holidays were her thing.
Travelled alone with a battered suitcase
and her best hat. Quickly made fast friends,
shared sweets and crab paste sandwiches.
Pinned down early in life,
her wren-like wanderlust
knew no moss, drove her elsewhere,
no missing person: an adventurer.
She toured the country, pinched cuttings
from stately homes. Her postcards made us smile,
a black biro cross on a hotel room window.
Funny little sketches of gaggles of old ladies
waving handbags in tea shops.
One Of These Days
A month of Sundays ago,
while polishing turds
up shit creek,
I stopped watching the pot
and started the barrel rolling.
all things must pass
and procrastination will steal
damp powder, bolted horses,
mossy stones and mouse plans.
Feel the warm breeze
carrying a fug of the 70s
wafts of men, coal, something else.
Trains crash out of the dark;
imagine jumping in front
a scream in these confines.
Flung along in the darkness,
blind to the rattling course.
There’s a sense of familiar danger;
we mind the gap and yellow line,
crushed in the smashing doors.
Glimpses through archways
in the eerie calm of stations.
I buy seed and fat balls,
choose a good high branch.
Fill the feeders to bursting;
I like the idea of it.
Then they come, the gang
of streetwise squabbling sparrows,
pushing and shoving on perches,
a greedy, thankless rabble.
I sit and watch through the window
as they scoff the lot in hours;
wonder at my resentment,
consider scaring them away.
Bio: Ben Banyard lives in Portishead, near Bristol. His work has appeared in Popshot, Prole, The Interpreter’s House and Lunar Poetry, amongst others. Ben’s debut pamphlet, Communing, was published by Indigo Dreams in February 2016. He edits Clear Poetry, an online journal which features accessible work by newcomers and old hands alike: https://clearpoetry.wordpress.com You can also follow Ben’s blog at https://benbanyard.wordpress.com