Running by Duntrune, or anywhere – by Beth McDonough

Running by Duntrune, or anywhere,

there are burns which probably never were.
I don’t mean any grand-splashing course,
not even wellie paddle-joy deeps.
Just some wonder of something,
overcovered by full-on June’s green.

Damp into a place where light switches off.
Possibly, there’ll be a wee waterway,
a field drain or some little ditch.
Hidden by herbage, in less nippy nettles,
or nodded at longings of elegant foxgloves.
Then the odd hogweed shoots up.

Perhaps in this hot spell, down there’s 
just mud. Hard-cracked and heartless. 
Maybe, at other times, rain offers fun,
to gargle, over-run pebbles and sand.
All that could shrink, be stagnant, stink
under autumn’s warm clouds and fly swarms.

In a month, imagine frothed meadowsweet –
­no, I know you can’t see it yet.

This could brim bronze, be all cress in excess.
I don’t care if you don’t fancy soup.
What if we’ve found the old farm march?
Or just leaves, where nothing ever existed.

Shall I part all the brambles, 
sticky willie-velcro dog roses, 
with cross-scratched-to-buggery limbs?
Or will I just drop three grey stones
into whatever this is or was never,
run on, before I hear their fall stop?

 

 

 

 

Beth McDonough’s poetry appears in Causeway, Antiphon, Interpreter’s House and elsewhere; she reviews in DURA. Handfast (2016, with Ruth Aylett) explores family experiences – Aylett’s of dementia. and McDonough’s of autism. She finds poems in and near the Tay.

Blawhard – by Beth McDonough

 

What if the next storm hates
his name, blows tired of the south, just
blusters up here?

What if he refills winter
into wee lace spaces, litters
brown paper from beeches?

What if he frisbees slates
slant at that earth, already knife
bright with bulbs?

What if he swings on my neighbour’s tall fir
so hard that it parts
from the roots?

What if he smashes their glass –yes
bams every pane in their precious
conservatory- sit-ootery?

What if he hangs
my line-drying knickers
pink on its thistle-fine finial?

What then? What then? What if
some big wind did all that
and then just
                                                          blew away?

 

 

 

 

Beth McDonough has a background in Silversmithing and teaching, completing her M.Litt at Dundee University. Recently Writer in Residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts, she reviews for DURA. Her work is strongly connected to place, particularly the Tay, where she swims. Handfast, (with Ruth Aylett, May 2016) explores autism and dementia.

New Gansey – by Beth McDonough

 

My big head grumbles hard
pushes at the escape hole’s
tight, into sofa yarning patter.

A crew neck, just
cast off. Mum nods through
gauzy moss stitch. Enough
for growth. That halo’s taut
will give a bit. Who wants
some slop-shape, spoiled
in no time? But already crossed

I raglan arms, point fingers.
Itch inside the woolly beast. Itch. Itch.
Pals don shop-bought sweaters.
Jerseys. They don’t trip on
bumpy rugs, slumped on
lumpen ganseys. No-one else has
ganseys pressing now, all fillings
butted by Dad’s Heralds, all completed crosswords. No.
No-one else has ganseys

Mum gives her one-eye stare.
I scratch my wrists. Force me out. A little bit.

 

 

Beth McDonough’s poetry appears in Gutter, Antiphon and elsewhere; she reviews in DURA. Her pamphlet Handfast (2016, with Ruth Aylett, published by Mother’s Milk Books) explores family experiences – Aylett’s of dementia and McDonough’s of autism.

Heading to Kellas – by Beth McDonough

 

After an outpost beech or two,
that march now backs
against suburbia’s frontier attack
from the retail park. Bales
brick up, garrison defences
at its built approach. How long

can any cut-back field hold out
gold in the face of proffered
silver? Across the way a yellow sign
offers one Poplar Avenue – pre-occupied
behind tidy walls, placed
where no poplars ever rooted.

 

 

 

Beth McDonough’s poetry appears in Gutter, Antiphon and elsewhere; she reviews in DURA. Her pamphlet Handfast (2016, with Ruth Aylett, published by Mother’s Milk Books) explores family experiences – Aylett’s of dementia and McDonough’s of autism.