Isabel Bermudez lives in Orpington. She was educated at King’s College Cambridge and previous incarnations include working in state television in Sri Lanka and Colombia, and as a schoolteacher in the UK. For the last ten years she has worked as a tutor of French, Spanish and English. her debut pamphlet is due out from Flarestack in July.
The Red Crane
In the shimmer of the Shard, the red crane
performs his slow, 7am ballet: a new beginning
after the long winter, recalling the earth on its wheel
or a spring moon on its tour of duty,
and everywhere, the shock of cherry blossom
in the warmth of longer days.
He stretches, then slowly, painstakingly turns,
lifts a swaying girder with his long beak,
only to place it elsewhere. Endlessly,
he arranges and rearranges these lengths of steel,
one line poised on another…
The frets on his slender neck revolve
all day long till dusk when distant lights
wink on and off at the top of Canary Wharf
in a pale blue sky, thin as a summer dress.
Evening comes in a thousand windows
and in this mirage, the arc of his long life
as it hangs in the balance; ripples over its hard nest.
Girls with tee-shirts have second-guessed the spring,
in a flutter of lipstick and short skirts crowding the bus-stop
on the High Street where three red buses come at once.
It may be over all too soon, as a gust pulls at the buds;
winter is clinging on like a grandmother; hair on her chin,
with holes where her cheeks were, in a long cardigan, not opening the door.
But the year will hold its course and winter slip away; a frozen passing
in plastic carrier bags that clothe the trees down by the brewery,
in scarves, hats, old shoes and gloves washed up on the towpath,
and white gulls on the river that suddenly have the look of new souls.