Allan Bolton – Three Poems

Allan Bolton is attracted to natural, outdoors, sporting, and musical themes. They often inspire and shape the spirit of his poems and stories which have been published in magazines and journals. Allan is a lifelong reader of literature in many styles and periods. He is influenced also by fellow members of a long-established creative writing group which is currently exhibiting in a heritage centre illustrated texts on the theme Baby Boomers.


Daffodils at Inverchorachan

I trek the long puddled track
along the Fyne glen, four miles
while it steepens and wilds
this late April morning.
Then I see, before a watersmeet
where the Fyne river is fed
by a burn which tumbles
from Beinn Bhuidhe,
the lonely cottage Inverchorachan.

It’s where easy walk
becomes effortful climb.
I settle to the ascent, reach the summit,
not a classic, not a famous view.
Yet two images remain:
from Bhuidhe to Beinn Laoigh,
snow queen of southern highlands
predominant amongst her acolyte hills;
and, back in the glen, re-passing the deserted cottage,
now past their best, a clump of daffodils
that nod and blow by its doorstep,
a tiny human gesture which endures resurgent,
though dwarfed by vast emptiness.

This mere wood store, a shed for farm tackle,
was once a shepherd’s family house.
What brave homemaker from which century
planted these flowers
to soften the harsh loneliness, to nurture hope
before, defeated, she withdrew to the city
or a new continent?


Saltburn Surfers

In the water beyond the pier, sluggish weights,
these wetsuited squatters rest becalmed, a shoal
not to rival dolphins, lazy, they await
a bigger wave, a fuller swell.

Unco-operative waves come on
line abreast, low walls of grey water
orderly, predictable. At a modest apex
each crest with a line of white
that swipes left then right
like a finger on a touchscreen.
Each curl unfurls
then disperses with a rasp
into the firm sand.

As if to break this deadlock,
one surfer rises up, climbs a gentle wave,
mounts then tenses for balance,
unwinds to stand taller, hitched
to momentum’s steady progress.
With fine balance she rides the tide
fingertips pointed and splayed,
but this rapture cannot last:
the wave falters, begins to collapse.
She gives herself to its spent force
and immerses sprawling, spent herself
in the white dappling, the benign shallows
of the foreshore.
She springs up, re-gathers, hugs her board,
set to go again.


Colorado Girls

Colorado University versus Nebraska University
volleyball 1991

If heaven holds a campus, it looks like this —
terracotta roofs glowing
on a festive September Saturday.
The hall hums
with excited students and alums
who strain for a view,
roar support for
CU, CU, CU.

The Super Six, state champions,
rush on to court, form tight huddle.
All tall, tall as a tall man,
they grip wrists, touch hands,
call a private chant.
Long hair all shades of blonde
in black and gold bands,
their limbs honeyed by the summer sun.

MC relishes names through excited mic,
Katie, Shannon, Jennifer, Amy, Lisa, Michelle.
Surnames tell that their folks were
English, Irish, Polish.
All one here in this tightest unity.

In play, like a dance with fastest moves
that baffle the eye, they rally, parry, over the high net.
Then one strikes
to make a deadly spike.
Leap, dive, block, repeat.
CU wins, wins the right
to put the Cornhuskers to flight.

Fifty now, do they mourn their youth?
So long ago, so marvellous.
Bodies have lost spring and flex,
eyes a blink slower, nothing now effortless.
Yet no matter:
futures hold other treasure.
What happened then, happened for ever.
Believe in those days
that never die, in records, memories
and conveyed in these words,
of a fleeting outsider.


/ends

 

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