Lyn Thornton teaches English Literature at Oxford University. She recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, London where she was tutored by Jo Shapcott and Andrew Motion. Her poems have been included in The Bedford Square Anthology, Oxford Magazine, Stand and various pamphlets. She is currently working on a collection inspired by characters in Shakespeare.
Uccello’s – A Hunt in the Forest
Stillness in action, a filigree of leaves in the canopy
below, splashes of red – a holding of breath-
a dog in the foreground paws the air as though in
answer to a call – horses pull against their reins,
rear up, riders sit silent, caught in a dream,
strain forward – to what? They hunt in the dark.
His dream was of a new form, but the old one stretches
out a hand, pulls him back, back from the pitch black forest
where deer and spear hurtle pell-mell, towards a point
that vanishes, pulls him back to the stiff backed rider
on a white stallion, edging out of the frame.
Each day he watches the brown lake edge
closer – there is a deadness in so much
fluidity where gusts of wind knock gulls
for six – there’s no energy in this impulse
of air on water just the possibility of catastrophe
even the swans have lost their dignity.
He locks up his shed early, manoeuvres
his bike along the path; too cold for seasonal
planting or setting stakes upright, too cold
to hang around, light-up the calor gas
brew tea in a cracked pot
and fancy he sees his father’s form
shadowing neat rows of carrots and cauliflowers
crammed in, victory tight.
Spring floods have left the fields sodden
a sharp wind whips up the heavy water
the river threatens to breaks it’s banks again
back in his shed he listens to the weather forecast
thinks he hears the all-clear and smells the dust
from buildings open to the sky.