About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

An Encounter with the Destroying Angel

I found this in my garden last Wednesday, in a pot containing a small Christmas tree that didn't survive our long hot summer. Having a morbid preoccupation with all things poisonous, venomous and otherwise highly dangerous, I could tentatively identify it as amanita virosa ... 

... otherwise known as the Destroying Angel ...    

... and having sought a second opinion from friendly expert, Bruce Langridge, this does seem to be the correct conclusion.  

In any event, I didn't make mushroom soup with it. I wrapped it up, put it in the dustbin and washed my hands. Dog safe, partner safe, poem written. 😎

I can't share the poem because by the time I've finished tweaking it, it might turn out to be good enough to take its chances in the world. So here's one I prepared earlier, from my first collection Communion.

Earth Stars

From the chronicles of trees
she wants monsters

baleful Destroying Angels,
stellar brides of hell
all innocence and virulence
in petticoats and veil,
or troops of gleaming Death Caps
goose-stepping through leaves
marshalling for massacre
in copses, killing fields, as if
escape clutched in her hand might gift
illusory control.

In forests damp and warm
in thickets blanketed by spores
the Prince with Devil’s Fingers
knows their secret, loamy holes.
He can smell them, see them, feel them swelling
opening the ground
thrusting through the litter
with a hungry, crackling sound. 
He finds her Velvet Shanks and Blushers
puts an Amethyst Deceiver in her hand.

In the sultry, starless dark,
she’ll settle for a zodiac
of flesh and pearls and earth.

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