It’s not the dying but having to quit that’s hard:
to be cut from the tumult reeling in moments like this:
a house waking to the east and pooling gold
not battled for. Illumination. Sharpness.
A walk into a needle-fall of rain.
Lifting your face to ash trees and sky,
ash-riddled sky, then home to a friend being glad.
Turning seed into food, colours. Making good.
A night on the glide with Jupiter guiding you back
and the heart at ease. A dog let to sleep.
All these you must leave.
It was far ahead, now it’s here.
You stare down days, with spiders wefting your hair
into their plans, watch dots stretch away.
You stand by the gate. Poplars rattle and shake
and doves rave answers to devious prayers.
Do not quit yet, they say. Be quiet and hear.
Hours, minutes, seconds. The music they make.
Juliet Aykroyd’s poems have been placed in several competitions, and appeared in a number of magazines. She was shortlisted for both the Torbay and Wells festival competitions in 2012. Juliet is also an actor and playwright, and her play Nancy Cunard won first prize in the Oz Whitehead/Irish Pen competition in 2003. She lives on a smallholding in Somerset, UK. She was a prizewinner in the Strokestown International Poetry Competition in 2009, but was unable to attend the festival that year,and has told us that she will be ‘very excited to be present for the first time at this famously wonderful occasion.’