Sheffield graffiti – artist unknown. Photo J. Mellor


We have darkened like the end of the year,
the knuckled hulls at our core
white as a maggot or a baby’s first tooth.

Clusters of sorcery, we store the sun.
The juice of us is a blue flame.
Even the wary fall for our frumenty smell.

Between children’s fingers we bleed black,
store our vengeance until Michaelmas,
when the devil unleashes himself in spit

and piss, and we rot like the underside
of hide buried in lime, lose ourselves
in softness, sink back into what we are,

almost fruit, almost tar, resist the creeping nights,
the toll of winter curfew, wait
in our thinned clusters like the eyes of the blind,

until eel worms eat at our ingangs,
hang on to the last, juice thick as oak bark liquor,
seasoned, vile,

then shrivel back to seed,
like the mole on the back of the neck
that marks you for hanging.

For the last few weeks, I’ve put some new poems on the blog, accompanied by photos I’ve taken of Sheffield’s graffiti. Today’s poem, ‘Blackberries’, is a relatively old one, and appears in my pamphlet, Breathing Through Our Bones (Smith/Doorstop, 2012). It’s the time of year when everything is, as we might say, ‘going over’, so I thought I’d give it an airing. Quillella, I hope you like the image.

Also, I’m well aware that I need to properly credit these graffiti artists, but my knowledge is totally lacking. However, the one I’ve got in mind for the next entry will be named!


2 thoughts on “Blackberries

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