Angela Gardner is a Welsh Australian poet and artist. She is the author of
six solo poetry collections as well as collaborations, chapbooks and
broadsheets. Her verse novel The Sorry Tale of the Mignonette published by
Shearsman Books, is a UK National Poetry Day recommendation for 2021.
Recent poems have been published in The Yale Review and West Branch
(USA); Blackbox Manifold and The Long Poem (UK); Plumwood Mountain,
Southerly and Cordite (Australia). She currently lives in West Cork, Ireland.

Cool the Sky

beside ghost-nets
becomes meadow. the milky and clear
knee-deep in wind. likeness of light on water.
flowers unstitched and let-go
: what we leave, unchewed by mouth or blade
is unstable. islands sink below the waves of high tide
the green world is wind-scoured clean. on a hill
the light threads without vowels slantwise: spine-jammed
and wind-riven. our rusting rain voyage
quivering and water-tipped. sunlight filets through
our hard-fought breaths to something squinted cool.
the sky through a cave: this stroke, this open mouth
this toppled kingdom. and as dark meeting us
removes the morning, constellate in icy water.

After the Distraction

we swam
in the cold shock of the end of one season
and the start of another. then gathering our clothes
walked from the coast to where light loosens
from its source: by tree, and by its angle.
for what was at first hidden crashing over rocks
became, as we were led uphill, a fall of water.
how the path: mental objects or backdrop, and by hand
became the rough block-work of forests.
a bridge, unseen until we turn and step into the river.

the glorious sea rocks awash in storm rush
the sky, unfinished, hastily assembled
is far below, where the waves
and fall back.
unable to leave, and without creatures,
unable to return.

The River

coughs into endless possibility
all noise and clatter of electron-charge.
its levers a machinery-dazzle of particle
behaviour until it becomes itself
a polyphony. each slip-stream splutter
a tiny volume held back.
the gears worn
and smooth
and unmaking.
it falls to the wind
to resist, to elide, to balance on a fold
of stone.

above and below a tiny surface
exists a mathematics of doubt, of uncertainty
where we may unravel the looking and looking
away, our not knowing where to stop.

Dream State

late in the long after of a summer evening
the maze reconfigures itself
reconfigures us. I enter through a door
step into a forest of oak and hazel saplings
onto the deer paths.
their forms, their absent shape, is brushed
into the long grasses at the edge of the field.

I look about
figuring the maze, looping and branching for an escape.
the long stone wall of the estate beside me
that dazed lightness I have when walking away from my body
helpless in the face of rapid fire in the blind alleys of the deep
neural networks. It's there in the tangle of bramble and nettle
against the vivid and chemical background
fear shoulders through in machine-gun visuals as unbearable
emotion gone dark. And it is a real place with ninety percent
not the eye itself but the mechanism behind it
as I step onto the ruined terrace with its rusty bathtub
overlooking the sea.

Back to Front.