Tuesday, 10 December 2013


Human Cargo


It’s best as dusk falls
on a clear and starry night,
the sky slowly staining
to washable blue;
chimneys lino-cut into
the border of tonight’s review.

Above the inky trees,
the Plough wages war
against the arc
of London’s sulphurous glow.                    
Stars hone gem-stone facets,
razor sharp and brilliant.

One by one they come,
beyond the pylons’ lifelines;
spangled shimmers of light
descending across the dark vault,
plotting the route, homing in –

                                                   Malaysian Air . . . . . . .

© Sue Burley

Friday, 4 October 2013


Wet Nights

 On wet nights the washing line
                                hangs slack,
gently swung by the breath
                                of a breeze,
rousing the sleeping flowers
and fondling drowsy trees.

A strand of flashing droplets slide,
                                 a slow glide,
slip united, smooth as oil,
turn to jewels, glittering
and trembling from a woman’s ear.

© Sue Burley


Sunday, 18 August 2013

 Above Ringmore

At Ringmore, All Hallows stands proud
above the deep-cut Devon lanes.
A tractor, fat tyres higher than a man
pulls silage uphill between steep hedges.

Sheep drift clouding the falling fields.
From the churchyard the sea glints pewter
in the cleft of the valley, the soft air full
of  sweet mown grass; a faint taste of salt.

Above Ringmore, cornflowers bunch in jars,
guard headstones with epitaphs in curlicue script,
mourn dead babies and wives gone too soon.
“The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.”

At noon sea mist curls in drenching our faces                   
wrapping the ships out of Plymouth, sinuous
between the laurel’s salt-scoured leaves;
summer seems past yet this is only June.

Bells ring from a distant tower, 
the air so still for once, the birds silent.
The earth moves through us; we turn our backs
for the last time, fearful that it might stop.

© Sue Burley