Here is one of my favourite poems by Aly Stoneman who will be reading and talking about Poetry and Place with me and Alan Baker at our NPF event, Five Leaves Bookshop, Tuesday 30th April 6.30- 8pm.
Father, you pelted our legs with tiny windfall apples
when we looked for you at dusk. You would not recognize
the orchard now; a storm felled the old Bramley and Pippin,
we lost Browns and Discovery to voles, root-nibblers,
that long cold year the Crimson King rotted, crashed down.
Hard green apples bounced like raindrops, raised
bruises as we chased and hollered. You knew where
the robin nested, prime locations of knots and hollows,
you lifted me up to see, it was you made me flinch.
You watched Exeter burn when you were five.
Father, you came from a time hard as windfalls,
territorial as birdsong. When we buried you,
Spring sunshine fell through bare branches,
sheep bleating in orchards beyond the churchyard walls.
If you walked in now, you wouldn’t know us.
Aly Stoneman is an AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities PhD researcher at NTU, writing about the British coast. She was founding poetry editor at LeftLion Magazine, showcasing local poets, and a winner of the Buxton Poetry Prize (2015). Her poems explore human relationships with the natural world. alystoneman.co.uk