Three poems from James Goodman’s Claytown

Claytown
I’d been looking forward to James’ debut collection Claytown since I heard it was in the works and it’s more than justified my anticipation. As well a number of poems about the Clay Country in Cornwall, where James grew up, there’s also humour, sharply-turned nature writing and a host of beautifully spare lyrics. Do check it out.

St Genies

Collared doves, warm mizzle, chimes from the clock-
tower at the end of the lane –

the pear tree sickening with summer, cutting loose
its basketful of skulls –

the tied-up goat fixed in a sphere of devastation
whose radius is a tether’s length.


previously published in The Rialto


Cherry blossom

The cherry blossom stutters
all through winter,

shapes the vowel-sounds of spring
far too early,

snags on December’s interruption
of November.

The new year starts with outright
mispronunciation.

The blossom parties are a joke;
there’s no fruit come autumn.


previously published in The North



Pear tree

Worn down by the noise
you take your rifle
and get lucky: pilot
and co-pilot with one bullet.

The chopper tips
into the pear tree out back—
sching as a rotor blade
cuts deep into soil

and slices buried brick—
and the pear tree so lovely
at this time of year,
a haunted face of blossom.

Order Claytown direct from Salt

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