Colt’s Foot by Matthew Caley

in Latest/Poetry/Spotlight


    if there isn’t a

delinquent shrub named Colt’s Foot

then, morally, there

should be, birthed from concrete, not

     knowing its Latin name, so


     tenacious of root

that if you pull it up

the whole earth’s core comes

with it – molten, whinnying.

    Colt’s Foot – it might be beauti


      ful if it weren’t so

scary …so the leaves of the

Buterbar may not

be collected in error.

    Faradial alcohol –


    I have it bitter

the rawest of radishes,

as a bit nipple,

pierced, too, that hot-metal tang

     as spring under permafrost


      thrives through urinous

piping;  as slender saplings

on the sink-estate

sway in their mesh cylinders

     and rarely become full trees.


    May, you coltish thing

skipping over drain-covers

having a quiet fag

behind the re-cycling bins

    your smoke a blossoming branch


      as any giddy colt

whose small hooves are shaped like leaves

toughs-out its childhood

with white-bandaged nose-stripe

    and nicked, faux-Nike fetlocks


      I grant you this spray

not as parley-token but

    sincerely proffered, wary.



Bio: Since his debut – Thirst [Slow Dancer, 1999] – was nominated for The Forward Prize for best 1st collection, Matthew Caley has published five more collections -the last three from Bloodaxe. He has recently taught contemporary poetry/creative writing at The School of English, St Andrews University; The Poetry School in London and The University of Winchester. He gave the StAnza 2020 Lecture in March. He has read everywhere from Novi Sad, Serbia to The Globe Theatre, London; from Prague’s Alchemy to Wayne-Holloway Smith’s living room. His 6th collection is Trawlerman’s Turquoise [Bloodaxe, 2019].