Brassy as prized art, a conglomeration of junk
leers at me cockily from the hedgerow.
Its centrepiece – a fridge – sits stark
flanked by bulging plastic sacks
stuffed with crumbling chunks of plastered laths.

Toadflax and clumps of lemon balm
slicked thick with oil from a rusted sump
slump down dying, a car battery sits
sullen as a ticking bomb beside a pair of shoes
tongues crumpled, soles worn perfectly smooth.

Conscience tugs. Behind the Blackthorns
a mattress weeps for all abandoned lovers.
I look and see the pinched face of Jesus in the stains,
smell clods of childhood, taste blood-iron
from a knee, scab-torn raiding orchard apples.

Back home, I relate the heinous crime
to my wife. Disgraceful, she says, appalled.
After dinner we sit out in our garden
and watch sugar-stealers glide like daydreams
in the evening breeze, rendering the sun obtuse.

by Peter Wilkin


  1. Really love this poem by our first male contributor! :) The first two lines are a striking opening, the sounds of rusted sump| slump are great, and the sullen car battery makes me smile. I also love the pinched face of Jesus in the stains, that is brilliant. The mattress that weeps for all abandoned lovers makes me want to weep with him (her? it?) too. Love it. Cracking poem Peter, well done!

    1. Privileged to be the first male contributor at Cafe Aphra, Sara ~ and thank you for such great feedback.

    2. Thank you 1emeraldcity ~ your feedback is truly appreciated.

  2. Love this poem too. It got my attention from the very first sentence. My favourite line is 'sugar-stealers glide like daydreams in the evening breeze' and I also like the reference to Blackthorns with it's clever gardening/can reference. Thank you for this Peter. Hoping, your contribution will encourage more aspiring poets and writers (male or female) to submit pieces to Cafe Aphra and join in the writers' dialogue.

  3. You don't write many, Peter, but when you do, they're class. This is packed with poetry, stuffed full to overspilling!

  4. I thought I'd left a comment yesterday, but is has clearly not registered ... it was along the following lines:

    Peter, you may not write them very often, but when you do write a poem, it is always full of class; it is also full of poetry. This has depth, fullness of meaning and message, a use of language, which quite frankly I think is awesome. You are a master with the pen, Mr. W ...

  5. Huge thanks to you all for your comments ~ very much valued & appreciated. So privileged to be chosen as the first male contributor at Cafe Aphra. Just a little bit of information: the title 'Rootprints' was inspired by the Algerian writer/thinker Helene Cixous. I initially thought of Footprints as the title but it didn't say enough about the different themes in the poem ... it felt rather superficial ... a surface marker if you like, whereas Rootprints immediately felt to dig down to the bottom of the earth where my poem is sitting whilst also spreading out to touch the whole of it.

  6. Making a "junkyard" of discarded dreams, deeds, and objects...colorful, alive, and elegant...and "rendering the sun obtuse"....a nervy and memorable end...Bravo! ~jackie~.

  7. "sugar-stealers glide like daydreams" what a fantastic phrase...
    To me this is 'pure' poetry - the choice of words paint such a vivid image.

    I was hooked from beginning to end, always the sign of a meaty piece of writing.

    Thank You - it was a pleasure to read.

    1. Thank you scarlettpoppies ~ your feedback is invaluable. I wanted the final lines to be as memorable & poignant as possible & 'sugar stealers ...' drifted into my consciousness from somewhere & just felt 'right'.


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