Zoë Skoulding

from 'Ventôse'

in A Revolutionary Calendar


1. Tussilage (Coltsfoot)

Because these atoms came from stars
all that holds them is a breath –
a fringed yellow sun turning
over the unwashed dishes – you're here
then everywhere

2. Cornouiller (Dogwood)

After the ice has gone and the snow
the only colour is this mass
of flaming branches – dagger lines
through clogged woods where
old tomorrows are still smouldering

3. Violier (Stock)

What flowers isn't linear but loops back
in time and weather – instant petals furl –
what I just said won't snap off into
anyone's history – that's you already
catching the scent of spring's non-arrival

4. Troène (Privet)

Take this clipped-back green where the berries
come and the birds – a private edge –
take ambiguous poisons of ownership –
take this decocted bark against
the trouble of elsewhere

5. Bouc (Billygoat)

At the centre of his own weathertime –
since the revolution is what revolves
round him – he's tethered to the sky – all of it
sweeping round on the tip of his horns –
all of it full of his very own stench

6. Asaret (Wild Ginger)

Leaves crowd in multiple curled hearts –
pages where the same old story
grows again – unreadable as the scent
of what it isn't exactly – never was –
but if you shut your eyes and breathe in –

7. Alaterne (Italian Buckthorn)

Green on paler green on cream – each leaf
a laying of maps – transparencies
of changing coastlines shifts
in population or the patchy spread of
weather – here and now heavier

8. Violette (Violet)

Making an early appearance
a fragile nod to sugar and soap –
the violence of light
splits your head
against a blue wind

9. Marceau (Goat willow)

There should be more goats
in the willows – more
goats waywardly clambering –
more willows disappearing
behind yellowish goat teeth

10. Bêche (Spade)

Call a spade a monument
to hands – a handle framing sky
a blade locked into earth
upright on the horizon –
if you dare – dare now

Zoë Skoulding's most recent books are The Museum of Disappearing Sounds (Seren, 2013) and Teint: For the Bièvre (Hafan Books, 2016).  She directs the AHRC-funded network Poetry in Expanded Translation, and is Reader in Creative Writing at Bangor University.