Iain Britton

I Have Watched the Tendriling
Midas Touch of the Sun

I have watched the tendriling Midas touch of the sun
Coming up for 3 weeks now and add another 3 score years
To the myth of my barging into the world on the birth of every June.

Every June
The coldest slot of the year
The wind rips the fragility of the trees to shreds the
Cold severs the autumn completely and the
Earth’s veiny plumbing

Hardens beneath a weight of urgency.
Herding instincts make us
Pile on skins zip up clothes - we
Disappear into ourselves. The
Season of undying fires is upon us. For some

This means
Eking out a living
Stealing flames off old ladies’ fingernails to
Keep their own toes warm.
Fully dependent on the midden behaviour of
The best man in the street the man who’s
Got all his teeth all that glitters they
Quite naturally
Try to be like him to act make love have children
Live in the best of houses

Bruise eat sleep and die like him
Die for a cause die one day for the holy life of the
Easter man caught up in tall timber. For me

Every June means being born again in a room with
Small windows too high to look out of too
Difficult to open to let in the city’s
Contaminated air. I’m a white-coated interpretation
Of a couple’s intimate blindness. My fingers
And toes have been counted. My head and spine
Examined. My limbs and sex checked and determined
And given the once-over smile of approval.

He’s all there. And I’m instantly incarcerated in
Cloth as if never to move again until the moment is
Propitious the stars’ knives are out the hydro-
Cephalic pressure is just too great. I’m standing rainbow-

Mounted in the middle of a field in a vastland of grass
Of widening proportions
Where there are few paths or tracks roads to follow few

Indications of ‘someone else has passed this way’.
Once … twice I’m asked about my name and
Where I’m from but
Looking back and reaching into the dark
Is getting more difficult for me. Every June
The field changes.



Iain Britton’s poetry has been widely published in the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Some recent overseas publications include Jacket, New England Review, Overland, Malleable Jangle, Retort Magazine, Drunken Boat, Free Verse, Slope, Tinfish, Magma, Orbis, Poetry Nottingham, The Reader, Nthposition, Stride Magazine, and Wasafiri. Forthcoming publications include Tears in the Fence, Agenda, Harvard Review and Poetry Salzburg Review. An interview and a selection of poems can now be read on The Poetry Kit—Magazine 5.