In chill October England
the African waits incongruous
by the grey concrete divide
of a duel carriageway.

He wears a leopard skin hat
and the curly white beard of
an old man. In his hand,
a tool dangles like a nonchalant

machete. He has bare feet
and baggy shorts and has
come from the woods,
filled with cool heartbeats

of high latitudes. He hears
as he heard in his homeland:
the voices are different
but still voices, greener

and more tidal, sleeping
for half the year at least.
Yet his heart beats as full
of blood as when his calloused

feet scuffed red, dry earth,
and though all through his
eyes is a paler brother,
less rich, quelled

rather than vibrant,
the murmurings he feels
through his soles
are so similar in vibration

he cannot help but
accept the meek light
as home, and breathe in
the arrival of happiness.


copyright distilledvoice & Ben Truesdale



Slow on dormant
Short day
And soil
Chilled stasis,
Yet latched
To the axis
Of the earth
That will
With solstice turn,
Unwind with light
And spiral out,
First shoot,
Then leaf,
Then the flower’s magnitude,
In swelling apex
And full, green flush
Of potential’s plumpness,
All the tangible world
Expresses its ripeness
And rests gladly
In energy’s hands.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

In The Meniscus


In the meniscus
The whole reflected world.

Even in the shine
Of the pebbles,
Glossed wet,
There are mirrors
Two fold:

In the painted light
And in the seeing.


And In the sheen
Of the sea’s damp hold

Stones gleam transformed.
Surfaces everywhere

Like shields,
Like barriers
To hold the selves
Of things,
Make them impervious
And themselves

Stones are whole
Behind their skin,
Behind the thin film
And that,
Reflected on its surface.

And the sea too
Is deep
Below it’s meniscus.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015.

Primordial Stream


We set off up the stream,
Beginning in sunlit glade
And shimmer of water,
Licking each golden stone.

A pair of wagtails flit bold
In their territorial patch.
The banks are meadow flanked
But soon rise to steepness.

Beech and oak find purchase,
Dappling and putting much to shadow.
A luscious gloom settles, heavy
Breath of deepest, dimmest forest.

The stream becomes primordial,
Carves bowls in stone, cups to which
Birds might sip and swallow swirls and falls
As channels form slowly deeper.

Moist darkness crouches in
Underhang and ferns as endless
Kingly crowns sprout in revelations
Upon the earthy tiers, and foxgloves

As colour pronged diviners speak
To purple heavens reaches.
Trees too die. And some span the crevice,
Long ago fallen and half rotted soft

With moisture’s seeping ingress,
Wearing a jewellery of mysterious
Polyp, their woody hearts absorbed,
Transformed to plate-like fungus.

A coat of moss clings to every
Surface: beard of the forest
Spirit, wizening to bark and stone
Alike, a mat of tendril and twisted

Whiskering leaf, bog wet and reservoir
To humid air’s closeness. And gnats,
Fast in an escaped sun beam, find their
Golden scribbling above a still pool

And with their swift speed mark the
Quantum stillness of the hollow in the
World where time flows only as the stream,
In gurgle’s timeless ever movement down.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015.