Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 19 . . .

The Bear

     poem and ink painting by Lia Brooks

In the dream from which I woke to the still-dark of morning,

the wood was white — the bark, the fern, frozen hard

               under a blank sky.

Beneath the thickening elms I was searching a mile

from the road, on my knees in bracken and begging

               for something metal.

Cold and round, lost from us, from an argument — a word

like stop, a sigh shaped like moon

               and just as remote

somewhere in the grass, under a stone,

caught like a nought from the lips and embedded

                                                                           in the earth.

I found tracks, the small carcass of a fox — leftovers

of a struggle in the night. I circled round the rib-bones clasped

white like prayer, slid hands under pine needles,

               felt the ground ingest.

In the woodpecker’s eye I saw the mountain spit out a bear.

It escaped the rocks, came across the heath to the wood

               into the rime eclipsing.

If I dug hard enough through hawthorn, ivy, the chains

of bindweed noosing the hazel saplings, I knew with time

               I would find it.

Branches crackled, flew magpies to the air

grunting. And the bear. . .

                                             The bear

like evening coming from the trees in a spill of ink. The metal

under a holly branch, my hands at the covers sore and cut,

                                                                                          trying for it.


When Lia Brooks is not writing, her nose is usually in a book or perhaps she’ll be somewhere outside walking, but very likely thinking about words. Her work has been published in Penumbra, South, Shadow Train, American Poetry Journal, California Quarterly, Loch Raven Review and various other print and online magazines and anthologies in the U.K. and the U.S. She was short-listed by Sheenagh Pugh for the New Leaf Short Poetry Prize in 2007 and her poetry has been part of two ekphrastic events in collaboration with painters in Indiana and California, and has also appeared in a 200 years commemoration to Chopin, titled: Chopin with Cherries: A Tribute in Verse. Her poetry has been specially selected by Magma and will be forthcoming in Magma's Newsletter this November. She resides in Southampton, UK, with her partner and two sons.


© 2010 Lia Brooks