Weeping Laburnum

Mark Valentine

I hardly noticed where I was walking:
each of the streets seemed much the same.
But then some odd smear of colour
half-seen made me stop
by a low wall with a grin of metal stumps
like iron teeth ground down.

I saw a weeping laburnum tree,
with sagging epaulettes
of sulphurous yellow
hanging from damp twisted limbs.

A few slabs smeared with streaks of moss
ran from the gap where once was a gate
to a black door. On either side, greasy windows,
in the room a few faded dusty books:
it seemed to me that every one
was telling the life of the laburnum.

Mark Valentine’s work has appeared in M58, PN Review, Agenda, Reliquiae, Marble, Wild Court, at the National Poetry Library (UK) and in the TLS gossip column in Esperanto. He also writes ghost stories and essays on obscure authors.