Bert Flitcroft Poetry


Little ways.

She hangs jumpers out spread-eagled
over four lines of the whirligig
to stop them stretching, pegged
under the arms at the seam.
She’s so particular.
She lets dishes drip at lunchtime in the rack
on top of those already dry.
So careless.
The beds are aired daily
with duvets and sheets folded back,
creaseless in apple-pie formation.
So meticulous.
At bedtime the daily paper is left
open on the floor, crossword up.
It’s so annoying.
And she walks from room to room
with a toothbrush foaming from her mouth
as if to save time.

I don’t know what I do.
Something with pots and pans, I think,
or closing the curtains badly, perhaps.
Certainly, singing the first line of a song
without thinking, for weeks on end.
But other things?
I don’t know, and I don’t ask,
and she doesn’t say.
It would be like moaning,
which we try not to do.

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After the News, before your Horlicks
and my two fingers of Laphroaig,
I switch off all the lights, pull back
the curtains that velvet our picture window.

Out in the dark the wild cherry tree
like Cerberus with its three twisted trunks
is guarding the end of the garden,
its branches tapping warnings on the fence.

Out in the dark the lawn is stretching
its edges like lips around a yawn,
shaping the bites of Peony and Potentilla,
surrounding the pond where mottled carp
are finning their shapes through the ink.

Out in the dark the feeding bat
is cross-stitching the hidden stars.
The hedgehog is trekking its path,
sniffing beneath the laurel and the holly.
Whatever night brings, scuffing the patio wall
it stalks at the edge of things.

Sometimes, you come and rest your fingers
on the glass, testing the membrane
that partitions the dark, leaving
the smudge of your whorls for the daylight.

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Forget gravity

They say that love is everything,
those who know that you can die from it.

Wouldn’t it be something, to discover
that the driving force behind the universe,
behind every patch of red or purple gas
where matter is still forming, was love.

That planets hang around together
because they love each other,
like particles of passion holding hands
in a reverie of inexplicable black holes.

Wouldn’t it be something, some sort of comfort,
to know that in every nook and cranny of the stars
this force - nebulous, excited to self-luminosity,
bright as the spiral of Andromeda

but insubstantial as Magellan’s clouds* -
will in the end always coalesce,
shape itself out in the dark into a ring,
a single glass of wine, an empty chair?

* two small starry nebulae, visible from the Southern hemisphere.

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Front Cover of Bert Flitcroft's new collection Thought-Apples
“This is lived poetry and many will identify with the places, moods and hazards on his journey.”
More about 'Thought-Apples'

'Thought-Apples' is available from or direct, via the Contacts Page.

Buy 'Thought-Apples - 25 Poems'
Front Cover oif Bert Flitcroft's new book Singing Puccini at the kitchen sink
“poems that lift off the page, immediately enjoyable but worth re-reading.”
Jonathan Davidson
More about 'Singing Puccini at the Kitchen Sink'

'Singing Puccini at the Kitchen Sink' is available on Kindle from Amazon or direct, via the Contacts Page.