Two Poems by Bob Beagrie

At Odds
Bob Beagrie

When there’s no hope of a phone signal
and I know, if there was, you wouldn’t pick up,
these are the things I can use to call you:
the mat of moss sighing damp over a tumble of rocks
among an oak’s exposed roots beneath dripping branches,
the wind, carrying threads of fret into a white sky,
a distant dog’s clockwork bark, pinpricks of sheep
on the farthest field, the infinite trembling pleats of the loch
running against itself, a low skein of geese, a fallen leaf
caught in the rhythm of a hidden waterfall, all packaged
into an irresistible lure bound to bring your voice to my ear
your shadow striding from a copse of mountain ash
shame berries crushed beneath bare feet
and my own dumb tongue hog-tied with string.


The Old Cow Shed
Bob Beagrie

lost its doors an age ago, gable
bearded, eaves browed with ivy,
the corrugated salmon flesh
of its sagging roof—an occasional
perch for scrutinizing crows.
The murk within is thickened
by two shafts of sunlight
from missing tiles; swallows
dart in and up to their nest
among the rafters. In one corner
lies a rust-pitted hammer—
the shaft snapped, a beaten stone,
an abandoned stirrup, and it hasn’t
shaded a cow’s hide in years. Instead
it listens for the lap of the Esk,
the crunch of footsteps on the toll track
to Egton, the hooves’ daily plod
of its outgrown herd on the path
to and from the milking yard; suckling
shadow, swallows, creeping ivy,
the quivering heads of cow parsley.


Bob Beagrie lives in Middleborough in the northeast of England. He has published seven collections of poetry, along with several pamphlets. His most recent publication is Leasungspell (Smokestack Books, 2016). His poetry has been translated into Urdu, Dutch, Finnish, Russian, Spanish, Danish, Estonian and Swedish. He is a senior lecturer in Creative Writing at Teesside University, co-director of Ek Zuban Literature Development and founding member of the experimental poetry and music collective Project Lono. (soundcloud.com/projectlono-1)

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