‘Good things happened on that day also’ by Elizabeth Barrett

Good things happened on that day also

Through a crowded carriage window
as it pulled away, a glimpse
of my daughter. Later that day
a drizzle of sun like ginger honey
on the Dales. From a distant train
a trail of steam hemming a seam of sky.
The village shop where I bought
curd tart and apricots.
A woman bleeding at the leg
picking nettles with her bare hands
from the ground: the way I felt
my stalled heart jumpstart itself.

And then, as I crossed Ivelet Bridge,
the heron which stopped to watch.
At a bend in the road, a hedgerow of stars
opening like white flowers.
Light rain like scattered moonstone
across a wooded scar. That afternoon,
the birds which came suddenly
to my window, scrabbling against the glass.
How I worked my cross-stitch strand
by strand until I slept, needle in hand.
That I dreamed her face not knowing,
then, the glimpse had been my last.
 
(Runner-up in the Ted Hughes/Elmet Poetry Competition in 2013, judged by Kathleen Jamie)
 
 
 
Elizabeth Barrett is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently A Dart of Green and Blue (Arc Publications, 2010). She has been the recipient of an Arts Council of England Writers Award and is widely published in journals and anthologies. Elizabeth lives and works in Sheffield and blogs about living with autism and poetry at dylanandliz.wordpress.com Twitter @ElizBarrettB