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Their late blooming spears spill from my beds

reliable as the poppy pinned to your coat

well into November

leave ointment pink medals

like skin grafts on fallen leaves

the lapsing ghosts of stems, and I think

they are taking back their dead

sentries for a season

and they’re done

the whole year’s flowering

fallen to the ploughshare.

Then December

with its carolling drunks

arrives like a regimental train

its run of blood-red indulgence

cutting winter in two.

Clare Phillips lives in Dumfries and Galloway, home to Scotland's and is a poet, Quaker, and Scottish Green. She has read at the Bakehouse in Gatehouse-of-Fleet and been published locally by Markings and Southlight for over twenty years. Retirement from social work training has given Clare more time to engage with writing. Support from Bakehouse Director Chrys Salt under a Festival mentoring scheme bore fruit when she gained the 2019 Festival's 'Fresh Voice' award. Clare hopes to publish a second pamphlet since 'Two of Things' in 1998. Peace is bound to feature as will humans' conflicted relationship with nature.

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