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Andy Brown is Director of the Centre for Creative Writing at Exeter University. His recent books are Fall 0f the Rebel Angels: Poems 1996-2006 (Salt, 2006) and Goose Music, co-written with John Burnside (Salt, 2007). Previous books are Hunting the Kinnayas (Stride, 2004), From a Cliff  (Arc, 2002) and of Science (Worple, 2001, with David Morley). He edited The Allotment: New Lyric Poets (Stride, 2006) and Binary Myths: Volumes 1&2 (2nd edition, Stride, 2004). Andy Brown was originally an Ecologist, a discipline that informs both his poetry and his criticism, which appears in The Salt Companion to the Works of Lee Harwood (Salt, 2007).





Just because our prints are faded

doesn’t mean the path’s not there.

The hidden trails our memories are

familiar with bump endlessly along:

the crunch of our feet; the rattle

of our wheels; our skittish horses

galloping away in thunderbursts.

(Thunder?   but the sky is so blue!)

To those who live along the way,

weather lends weight to memory.

‘The future will surely be different,’

they say, ‘brighter; clearer?’ But time

settles too easily on us, like mist

in a valley, already dark on approach.

Is this the route we meant to travel,

as we reconnoitered the mainland;

the place we now call ‘Home’ assisting us

to remember the dead and welcome in

the living? We might have occasion

to follow them; to spend the night

in an abandoned church, a decrepit

hacienda; but it isn’t arrival that matters,

rather the ways we find to be whilst there:

think of survival on mountains…




You reason with our children in your mother’s tongue –

gentle; laughter flying like flags – whilst mine

hefts its weight as if in a wood chopping logs.

When I am done with working it,

I sit on the steps of the temple

of your conversation and let it float

until your words are clouds and, theirs?

their words are cloud shadows

falling across the fells of my nature;

their answers more than grace notes

in this counterpoint of curiosity.

You have made of them bright insects,

buzzing, as if the swarm of words

gave warmth; a green light to the back of silence.





copyright © Andy Brown