Guest Poem by Clifford Liles

Clifford Liles now lives in Hereford but has lived and worked in several other countries. His works have appeared in Acumen, Orbis, London Grip, The Cannon’s Mouth, Reach Poetry, Dawntreader and Writers’ Forum. He was Runner Up in the Earlyworks Press competition and twice Highly Commended in Winchester Writers’ Festival competitions. He has also been shortlisted in SaveAs Writers and Canterbury Festival competitions.


As frost smothers fire at the fulcrum of dawn, you
are there, hands burrowed in your fleece, ambling
round our garden, past Silurian ferns.
Wood-smoke drifts from November’s stoves. Leaves curl
and crisp. The greenfire burns down. It will take all year,
as every year. You’ll dig firebreaks, back-burning,
turning the soil of this once ancient forest.

Then you will plant Promethean seeds, refugees
from their futures, potent as fennel, sage or chard;
feel like a caster incanting their names, in Latin, to row
upon row of green tongues and tendrils. You
will finger and thumb them with char-soiled hands.
In Spring, you will set these greenfires again. Sprinkle water
as fuel and fan their flames