Anne Compton

Three Poems

formal dining room
Haar: frost smoke off the North Atlantic

Even the words overcast December day have slack in them,
a falling away sound. Someone’s taken an eraser to colour:
Everything’s pavement grey. Absolute, I’d say, is the word
for bare trees, and the river, icing up, looks a cast-off shield.
Crows, in their military coats, are undeterred. They’re warriors –
scouts perhaps – for the withdrawn king whose wounds turned
his mind: Smirch of ash, his sense of it. Grey’s the one colour
that’s its own complement. Nothing answers.

Even so, there’s a three-foot scud of frost rabbiting over the ground,
and yesterday – I suddenly remember – on the Lower Cove Loop,
didn’t a fox cross in front of me, lagging his bushy tail? A dancer
who didn’t get away by dawn. Carouser, glad of the frost cover –
the haar in from the harbour. Houses, up to their knees in it,
are off their foundations, or so it seems. Down there – at ground
level – the world’s tipsy with quickening light.


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