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Poems from Matt Harvey’s Where Earwigs Dare

Here are a few poems from Where Earwigs Dare – a newly published collection of Matt Harvey’s latest poems—horticultural, whimsical, ecological, political and just plain funny. Matt is a frequent live performer (a hilariously entertaining one, at that) throughout his native U.K., and is involved with the Transition Town movement.

THE COMPANY OF LEEKS

down through the generations
we’ve been generating leeks
we’ve not won all the prizes
but we’ve had our winning streaks
won enough to furnish houses –
we’ve had fewer troughs than peaks
in the company of leeks

rosettes, I’ve had a few and then some honourable mentions to see a leek you, yourself, grew receiving plaudits and attention when that leek in peak condition wins a Best Leek Competition you feel so cock-a-hoop it calls for cock-a-leekie soup although it isn’t Mum’s leek pudding …it’ll do for what is a leek – what is it like? let’s take a look – let’s sneak a peek a cylinder of bundled sheafs tortilla wrap of Welsh motifs a spring onion on steroids or – roots on – pagan Barbie close relation of the onion upside-down Olympic flame they are Garlic’s kissing cousin they’re an eco-party-popper in freeze-frame a little bit ineffable a heavy metal daffodil it makes me feel so affable the company of leeks so you can keep your Spanish beach I’ll stay where leeks are within reach – the tasty part of vichyssoise – and while the world around me sleeps beneath the undemanding stars I’ll keep the company of leeks ~ THINK BEFORE YOU PRINT THIS POEM made entirely from offcuts and recycled popular hits, hand stitched non-seamlessly together to see a hot tub in a council skip and heaven in a bald tyre behold infinity in your local tip and eternity in some frayed electrical wire it seems one man’s chimney pot’s another man’s top hot one man’s bauble is another man’s jewel one man’s cheapskate’s another man’s skip-rat one man’s chip fat’s another man’s fuel one man’s cheek is another man’s chutzpah one man’s puddle is another man’s foot spa broken umbrellas, malfunctioning kettles empty containers of various metals that never quite did what it said on their tins these are a few of my favourite things and one man’s tip is another man’s temple one man’s junk is another man’s joy one man’s meat is another man’s pen pal one man’s man is another girl’s boy one man’s popgun’s another man’s uzi one man’s grit is another man’s muesli leftovers, hand-me-downs, chuckaways, offcuts used, pre-loved, second-hand, rejects and cast-offs all the fresh junk that this rampantly unsustainable consumer society brings these are yet more of my favourite things when the cold bites, when my skip leaks when I’ve lost my zest I simply dismember my favourite things and then I don’t feel so stressed ~ ABOUT A BEE with a low matchmaking murmur from bloom to bloom fumble with fervour the honeybees we owe them but let’s not assume we know them for we project on to the bee utopian society their attitude, their industry the bee’s seen as exemplary I’ll quarrel with moralists the bee to me is seasonal accessory nature’s necessity honey maker, pollen picker stamen shaker, pistil licker floating voter stigma stroker window basher, private dancer picnic crasher, lip enhancer blank-and-yellow hive dweller anaphylaxis point of access unexpected aviator, blind dater, pollinator distant lawnmower impersonator metaphor provider, inflorescence inspector hairdo inspirer, nectar collector these things and more are what make me make much ado about a bee ~ WHERE EARWIGS DARE A silver trail across the monitor; fresh mouse-droppings beneath the swivel-chair; the view obscured by rogue japonica. Released into the wild, where earwigs dare – you first went freelance – and then gently feral. You worked from home – then wandered out again, roughed it with spider, ant, shrew, blackbird, squirrel in your won realm, your micro-Vatican. No name conveys exactly what it is – Chalet? Gazebo? You were not misled by studios, snugs, garden offices, workshops or outhouses. A shed’s a shed – and proud of it. You wouldn’t want to hide it. Wi-Fi-enabled rain-proof wooden box – a box to sit in while you think outside it. Self-rattling cage, den, poop-deck, paradox, hutch with home-rule, cramped cubicle of freedom, laboratory, thought-palace, bodger’s bower, plot both to sow seeds and to go to seed in, cobwebbed, Cuprinol-scented, Seat of Power. Matt Harvey’s Where Earwigs Dare is available now.


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