Winding towards Josselin
through woods
green as absinthe,
sharp as a lime slice,
I drop the roof
and speed carries
the smatter of rain
over the car and away.

Along the ditches
pollarded willows
are crazy for spring.
Wild cherries too.
Lordly over small holes
of navy shadow
the tall poplars
with their longer view
of land and weather
are still considering

In a shutter-snap moment
I’m through a hamlet
where two school girls,
laughing across the road,
vanish into their own lives,
brown hair adrift,
neck-ties flapping,
fresh blue blouses
a colour-swatch of
the audacious
morning sky.

It turns out midday
is not too early
for un pression
in a Breton bar
poured by an older man
with freshly coiffed
silver hair.
Although he’s slim
his new cardigan
is still too tight.
Music plays softly –
a blues in French
it takes me longer
than it should
to recognise
“cette ancienne vie sportive e tue-moi…”

We sit outside
in air which performs
a Gallic shrug to any
suggestion of summer.
A boy drops a football
and it’s off downhill
full tilt to the market square
until a long-limbed woman
in blue jeans and heels
steps into the street
and deftly boots it back.

By the wild duck pond
where we study
the dark water
for symptoms
of darker fish,
bright new ferns
barge through a crowd
of spent bluebells.
Curled fiddleheads intricate
and tensioned as bombs.

I’m wondering
if one of the thirteen
fat oysters was
a secret assassin.
It’s completely dark
but the blue-hackled
cockerel over the lane
has started up.
Chanticleer is convinced
the wheels of dawn
need avian grease.
The day is having none of it.

Like a man whose
sight is failing,
I’m saving these
screengrabs of life,
freezing moments
of unexplosion,
to carry with me
like blue amulets
against my gathering

Selected byRaymond Huffman
Image credit:starbright


Marc Woodward is a poet whose work has been widely published in journals and anthologies, and a musician who has performed and taught internationally.

He has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and commended for the Aesthetica Award and the Acumen prize.

A New Yorker by accident of birth, he has been resident in rural Devon, England for a loooooong time.

Recent collections:

‘Fright of Jays’ published 2015 by Maquette Press;

’Hide Songs’  published 2018 by Green Bottle Press.

’The Tin Lodes’ (co-written with Andy Brown) published 2020 by Indigo Dreams Press.


‘Shaking the Persimmon Tree’ published in 4/2022 by Sea Crow Press.

‘Grace Notes’ a collection of music related poems written in collaboration with Andy Brown is due out from Sea Crow Press in 2023.

He can be found on Facebook at

and on twitter @marcomando or at