I don’t quite say it anymore, now the kids
Are teens and there are sudden wars, threads
Of conversations that no longer want to pass
Through the needle’s eye of how we recast
Ourselves in new politics, new sadnesses, newspapers.
Irritability, like the substance left by vapours
That have long departed the alembic’s lung
And taste with a quetsch’s bitter tongue.
The hours and days mass themselves around
And harden like the filthy, frozen ground
On railway embankments on a mid-February day.
And that is in truth what I never quite say:
Those trashed slopes are home to the foxglove
An ancient restorer of the heart’s beat, my love.

From Joy (Carcanet Press, 2017) by Sasha Dugdale. Copyright © 2017 by Sasha Dugdale. Used with the permission of the author.