A lot of my poems explore the nature of creativity and contain processes to do with 'making'. On a trip with my son to see the film director Ken Loach talk about his work at the Bradford Film Festival our car broke down on the motorway and the idea for a pattern sprang from this...

Slip Road with Indigo Sky and Pussy Willows

It’s early evening as we step over the barrier
onto the relative safety of the verge.
Ahead, through a web of hawthorn hedge
a retail park throws switch after switch
until Vegas belts across our eye line
and we have to look the other way, start talking.

You about the possibility of blading in Dundee –
I about Enid Marx and a bag I just saw,
that you might like, morello cherry red,
piped with icing white and a transfer of a Lambretta.

The traffic slurs. Time passes. We stop talking.
The traffic slurs. Time passes. We start talking.

You talk about the stars – a bear constellation,
I about an idea I just got, design for a cotton print.
Look. Let me show you. See over there by the ridge,
how the artificial glow of the mall overflows
into night indigo then fades, in much the same way
as vegetable dye with too much exposure
to direct light or zealous washing.

That’s the best that kind of indigo
as it harbours no rust streaks.
Add those silvery wands to your right,
rhythms of pussy willow,
strumming the night sky – then repeat.
You start laughing at me – saying,
hopefully we’ll be long gone before a length gets finished.

Propped against a voltage box
we turn up our coat collars.
Tonight, the moon is very old and doddery,
milky as a cataract it gropes the stars,
a distant night owl.

The traffic slurs. Time passes. You stop laughing – stop listening
so I stop talking, stop inventing. The traffic blurs. Time passes.

Until ahead of us, within touching distance
the citron yellow lights of a breakdown truck,
fizzing against black, like lemons in the night
on the slopes of the barley-twist groves of Amalfi.

From Signs of Early Man (Templar, 2009), Jane Weir 2009, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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