Two poems by Ben Bransfield

Dorothy Gale

The weather man loves clouds
and has wanted to be cirrus
since he could coil the garden hose
without a hand from his mother.

Worried by his hours at their barometer,
she’d cook her son a storm from tins,
give him the lion’s share to munch
for brain and heart. Faggots and mash.

Stretching his toes in sheer delight
for thunder, he’d scale see-saws
in high winds, measure shifting
velocities in roundabout ways.

It’s when he started sweating
under rainbows that she knew
he’d never keep an office job
too high up, or anywhere

with windows to distract him.
It hailed the day they cremated her
where he had to make do with the sound:
dry chickpeas on a saucepan lid.

The cyclones, tornadoes, tsunamis,
of Brisbane, Kansas, Borneo
chart his dreams. He has her pair
of red shoes. He does not click his heels.

Becoming a Nose

Galimard, Fragonard, Molinard –
each school of Grasse a spell of macerated petals
and trays of fat absorbing Jasmine flowers.

I sit in the lab, face my amphitheatre
of potions: amber apothecary bottles,
essential oils, tiered, labelled

and at the sweet spot no cauldron
but mixing and conical flask,
beaker, graduating cylinder.

A world of scent to solve in head
notes, base notes, mid tones:
Petitgrain, Neroli, Vitiver, Bergamot.

I draw deep, unable to translate
pungent Patchouli, try Melissa
because I knew one once. Myrrh.

You dare not breathe when the mixing begins,
as liquids spill their privy codes,
redefine the resins and spice of wood or herb.

I free-fall into Lychee, Lotus, but Tomato
knocks me for six: Granddad’s greenhouse.
We’re putting tadpoles into jars like these.

(both poems previously unpublished)

Born in Shropshire, Ben Bransfield now lives in London. His poems have appeared in various magazines and he is one of three featured poets in Primers Volume Two (Nine Arches Press, 2017). Ben was shortlisted in the 2016/17 Poetry Business International Pamphlet Competition and was named a Teacher Trailblazer by the Poetry Society in 2015. Twitter @bransfield_ben Hear Ben Bransfield read at Drawing Projects UK, Trowbridge, on September 30.