Three Poems by Poppy Henderson

the harvest

‘nard and saffron
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes,
and all the finest spices’

                       song of solomon (4, 14)

I sit on kitchen floor and bury my hands in

the basket of lavender, elbow deep in the flowers

I have stripped from swathes of dried stems


the whorl of a thousand petals tinged with the same

deep lilac that seeps between the soft tendrils of dusk

and the hollow of the night, if only for an instant


this scent that lives and breathes in me is thrown

again into the cloying air with each rhythmic turn

of my sifting hands, balsamic and sweet


outside the window the tomatoes reel, drunk from

the vine, and the sage and basil leaves hang heavy,

pregnant with their fragrance


I go to fill the bath with great armfuls of lavender,

and catmint, saffron and lemon balm, and let the

water run hot and creaking from the rusty taps


When the tub is spilling over and all the tiles awash,

I sink in under the speckled surface and I call out to

you across the rooms to wake you from sleep


slad road

she stands with her back to me

as she rolls her cigarette,

humming tunelessly at the sink.

and I watch her wash pots


we quietly fill the air with smoke,

and it billows up in fat curls

above the shelves of jam jars

filled with herbs and hot pink salts


outside the cars purr by

and rain falls in sheets of mist

and the drunken man shouts

on the roadside, fuming


we sit and watch the candles burn low

the honeyed taste of dripping wax

sweet on our burnt tongues,

and the coffee is bitter and delicious


meanwhile the wild mimosa

blooms against the window

and the bruise of the night

darkens still behind the moon


I peel the blood oranges

ruby juice spilling out

as I break open the fruit

and I hand her a piece


We eat with out speaking,

our thoughts filling the silence –

in these unhurried moments

we are glass amongst sand



(n) (v.phr.) “to repair with gold”


the summer’s loud heat

is still ringing in my ears

and the baked earth

sits quietly cooling


i long for the sound of rain

smashing the canopy of gold

the fat drops lashing the trunk

and drumming the apples


the clouds hanging low and heavy

casting a crisp shadow


i watch the blazing dandelions

turn to milk witch clocks

with delicious restlessness


their downy seeds

unbuttoning themselves

into the october wind


starry florets flying bright

against the steely skies


and the brisk chill and snap

of the autumn months

cannot come sooner


i am tired of the bucket

always tumbling on its string

down to an empty well


this heat has been too long

i am thirsty

i am thirsty


Poppy Henderson is a 22-year-old Publishing and Creative Writing student living in the
beautiful city of Bath, UK. I'm an avid poet, café-loiterer and am currently writing my first novel. Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver and Kate Tempest are my poetic idols!

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