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Angela France: a poem

There is a certain late October light

as clouds gather a promise of rain tomorrow

when the sun's angle suggests I could count every leaf

on the big oak where I once sheltered coatless

from a summer downpour

drops fell from the branches

on my face to wet my lips and the taste of oak

surprised me

lasting past my licking away and strong

like iron so that it brought a sense of heartwood

ribs holding great ships of thick beams

in my old house resisting every nail or drill

blackened over the inglenook and unforgiving

to an un-ducked head

I walked away the taste stayed on my tongue

of all houses and times I left behind

soaked into my bones become heartwood

Angela France’s publications include Occupation (Ragged Raven, 2009), Lessons in Mallemaroking (Nine Arches, 2011), Hide (Nine Arches 2013) and The Hill (Nine Arches 2017). The Hill was developed into a multi-media poetry show which Angela toured, funded by Arts Council England. Her latest collection, Terminarchy, came out from Nine Arches in Summer 2021. Angela teaches creative writing at the University of Gloucestershire and in community settings. She runs the monthly reading series in Cheltenham, "Buzzwords".

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