“Gabriella” by Peter Coghill

Peter Coghill


My little niece rakes leaves, then runs full tilt
into the pile, busting them up all over—
with joy and guilt, and joy sprung from that guilt,
she kicks and clouts about until they cover
the grass again. A two-year-old Godzilla
on the front lawn, reveling in a power
so new and physical. A last patch fills her
arms and she flings a red and golden shower—
of words. For that is how she talked as well,
with wonder at our comprehending her,
a welter, like the spray of leaves that fell
from her throw, and caught the sun as tongues of fire.
Inspiration on the shaggy wind
of autumn—soon to be swept up and binned.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Tribute to the Sonnet


Peter Coghill: “I’m a physicist by profession, and math was my first love, followed by the outdoors. One droughty summer when the parks were closed by fire it was time for second loves and strangely I found myself reading and writing poetry (Louis MacNeice and Carol Ann Duffy, I just loved her). Something that was a complete surprise to me, and my wife. From there it has only grown.”

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