Excerpts from Tear up the lace:
Suraj, my name, once sown in sweet corn heat, means ‘sun’,
a proper Yorkshireman, a good Kashmiri son.
With battered book in hand, back home from school I’d run
to drive the oxen, a ploughboy berried brown by sun.
And then this foreign home – unspoken rules: keep mum,
don’t answer back, sweep dust and never see the sun.
In just a year, I gained a weaver’s rapid thumb
and learnt this awkward tongue in bone-tired daytime sun.
I taught my friends our new home’s words and spread my sun
among their bread bun roti, cool Bismillah sons.
By selling door to door in wind-blown streets, I’ve done
what we all hoped: grown shops and vans in English sun.
Now retired, I phone around and sort out everyone,
advise a bit of ‘when in Rome’ in different sun.
So why do some see hidden bombs and rattling gun
when this Halifax man roams the streets in showery sun?
If others ask what’s in your homespun heart, Suraj,
don’t speak of heavy rain; uncloud the sun.
He places his find in the rock cabinet
adds his cube stone
to plant furl stones basalts and granite
two ammonites from Jard-sur-Mare
and banded ironstone two billion years old
before oxygen before limbs fins rust
I watch him and think back
to Half Moon quarry on Foxcote Hill
my first find my belemnite
I chipped the mollusc spire from honey stone
rubbed it clean weighed the sea in my palm
ocean arrow sleek fossil
Devonian squid cuttlefish cousin
perfect swimmer from the Old Red Age
Joshua becomes motionless
© 2011 Adam Strickson