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Alison Clayburn

On the Phone

She is talking about

a lesson plan.

I notice

how the tomatoes have ripened
to a rich full red,
the bananas have grown brown flecks.



She is talking about

the difficulties of accreditation.

I notice

how the light catches the gilded rim
of my small oval clock
evenly, so that it gleams both sides.



She is talking about

how last week there were not enough tutors,
the workshop did not go well.

I see

a mass of dark green fronds,
held in a textured light green glaze.



And then I notice

how my body aches with holding.


Fickle Lake

This lake is brown
with a yellow tinge.
Its corrugations
flow toward me.
A gracious fleet
of very white swans
idles
by the opposite bank.

The yellow fades, now all I see
is the curl
of a silver-leafed tree
and a length
of pale blue sky.

Then the tree in the water
is green
and the strip of sky
is white.
The swans have been replaced
by grey-black geese.

I turn left to look again
at how reflected water surface light
dapples the slender trunks of trees
beside me. But now
there are no moving rings of light,
just smooth dull grey.

The coot that waited
expectantly below me
is gone. In its place
is a green-headed duck.

The corrugations
have turned away;
they rush
toward the other bank.

I won’t dip my feet in this lake.
It can’t be trusted.


Alison Clayburn was born in Hampshire, UK, near the sea. She now lives in London by the Thames. After a long career as a community worker she became an adult educator, specializing in language and communications. She teaches creative writing with an emphasis on personal development, specializing in Writing for Self Discovery courses and workshops. Buddhism has helped her to make changes.