Colin Dardis is a poet, editor and freelance arts facilitator from Northern Ireland. He was one of Eyewear Publishing's Best New British and Irish Poets 2016, with a collection from Eyewear, 'the x of y', forthcoming in early 2018. Colin is also the founder of Poetry NI and editor for Lagan Online. His work has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and USA. www.colindardispoet.co.uk
Bear the Frost
The absent heat of November
stops you from reaching the train on time,
pinning you to the mattress, posturing
the abandonment of a new lower
while longing for the elegance
of the butterfly and its pins.
Morning passes, hours protecting yourself
from frost. There is no comfort here:
no cups of tea or warm smiles,
expansive conversation filled with fluff,
no glittering artwork to widen the pupils,
only the preservation of a passing comfort.
We must bear the season’s bite on our cheek
and charge stomach first into the world
to prove we are hungry for the day,
eat our fill from the orchard fruits,
then in evenings, rest well by the fireside,
knowing our labours at least shook the soil.
Half-four, and the dimmer switch is already turning:
dipping the day behind a concealer of cloud,
as if suddenly embarrassed by its blush.
The coy empress knows how to apply a fan.
The sun refuses to work anymore, clocked-off
and used to the shortening hours,
gone round to the hemisphere next door
for a cup of coffee and the nightshift.
She is always on the burn, attending every morning
as any faithful worker would; even on sick days,
she asks Rain to stand in for her. By job-sharing,
they ensure that there is always something to report.
This Train Is For _____
My recent life is one of travel,
sparking in and out of existence
between filaments of the North Coast.
Passing useless marshland
ignored by motorways.
I’m flying next to a crow.
I’m sailing on an engine.
We will not stop to wait for the wind.
Forgive me Nature,
you are too far to walk alone.
On the night train with nothing to do,
just stare at myself for imperfections
in the window’s imbalance of light
or spy strangers through impossible angles
three students behind me, already hungover.
The majesty of countryside goes uncrowned,
unseen monochrome of nothingness.
I wait for these black mirrors to enthral me
pass the next seven stops, hoping lampposts
can illuminate more than mere stations.