Old Fossick




Old Fossick

Whilst splitting the tomatoes open with his  bent hands,  he espied the Madame coming down the gravel path in her tatty deshabille.
He quickly slurped up the  juicy red seeds and wiped his hands on his leather apron.

“  Fossick.  Bloody Fossick! “ she cried.

He creaked open the door of the glasshouse so she knew he was there. Then he banged it shut.

“ Fossick!” .

He poked his head out of a window which was broken and made her start.
“ Where are the radishes for the table?” she demanded, pulling at a tendril of her hair which had come loose from its copper combs.

“ Just getting them up from the sandbox Madaaame.”

She disliked him extending the vowel and kicked at a petunia at her feet. It screamed in dismay and bit her slipper. She couldn’t feel it through the paduasoy and the flower sulked and wilted.
She didn’t even like looking at him too much. He disturbed her. His hair was woolly and he wore very old trousers ripped in the seat. He was lumpen and unholy.

She turned to go assuming he would bring the vegetables now, but he called after her in his mocking insulting way:

“Madaaame! Madaame! Radishes be damned! I am turning into a tree.”

She waved a hand  angrily without turning and Fossick was left to contemplate the moss growing up his arm. At least it looked like moss, but really it could just have been green hair.
He knew that his legs were gnarled and brown and his cock had sprouted a green shoot. He would like to show her that sprout one morning, maybe cut it off and put it on a salad she had to eat.

He sat back on a rotting chaise and lit a black cigarette full of tweed and dust. His ears were itching badly again and he scratched at them feeling the little buds and shoots embedded in the cilli.
It was good being a tree. He wouldn’t have to eat or sleep any more. He could just be.
He pulled his boots off and rich humus fell out. His socks had long since rotted and his feet felt tough and alive.
Roots shot down into the gravel of the glasshouse floor splitting stone and lifting slabs.
Things creaked and fell and burgeoned. The glasshouse slid and splintered into the potato beds.The cook dropped a plate of fried zucchini with a clatter as a slow drifting roar of wind encircled the chateau shaking its foundations and making all the portraits hang crooked.

Madame felt a shuddering deep inside her belly as she powdered her backside, but she put it down to nerves about the evening’s ball.

Later that evening after their delicious  glace fruits  from the espaliers and wines  from the vineyard the guests wandered down the parterre.

A sweet rich couple wandered hand in hand tugging at each other. The young man pulled the girl through the yew topiary arch and into the dark netherworld of the kitchen garden.

He pressed her up against a wall and his hands sought her nipples under her thin sateen dress and slid down and round her  waist with arms as sinuous and strong  as a  vine.

She gazed up at the sky to create an illusion of boredom secretly feeling a huge pulse of stellar energy. She giggled and demurred but eyes suddenly grew large as she noticed a most peculiar excrescence growing from a tree. It bulged and hung from the middle of a huge oak, distended and covered with pocky bubules and rank veins.
It dripped some greenish sappy liquor.
As she grew accustomed to the darkness and her partner grew more amorous she suddenly screamed pushing him from her, she picked up her skirts and ran down the path. A shudder ran through the earth like an electric eel of horror.

The young man with his shirt all adrift and his pants half undone turned . He espied a huge hideous green face staring down at him with a distinct leer. It spoke.
“Call Madaaame!”
He fainted dead on the ground.
Alerted by the hysterical nymph, a  whole cavalcade of guests came running  and saw a huge man tree  or treeman thrusting out of the greenhouse with a monstrous erection.

Madame held her little gloved hands to her face in horror as she gazed up into the branches and leaves which swished and shivered in the black moonlight. He was forty feet tall and covered in chicken of the woods and other vile common fungi.
“ Bloody Fossick!”  she screeched, but he just let out a peal of atrocious deep laughter full of flapping bats and incontinent owls . His great roots twisted and he discharged his sap straight onto the gathered party.

It was hard to cut him down the next day but they did succeed in felling and logging most of his body parts. His head rolled and his green eyeballs glared accusingly at the master  woodman who pulled down his mask and carried on with the sawing and carting.

Unfortunately,  the next year thousands of saplings sprang all over the Great Estate ruining its value and Madame had a bout of incurable oakmoss  and  fell into desuetude.

Out on outskirts of the estate the logs rotted and beetles burrowed and skirmished fat grubs and striped hornets. Some said the logs rolled and moved a little after dusk and beady little eyes peeped from the crevices and the stinkhorns and puffballs which exploded into the night air grumbled and exuded foetid  human breath.

Veronica Aldous


Green Woman


Green Woman

Composed of smooth-muscled topaz limbs
I cannot move from this place
Which is as serene as any lily-scented hillside
Here I am  content to drape my  mind with humble gauzes
Furled from the bark of beeches, common ash trees
The slap of  lime surprises layered on blue penumbra
A choreography of  unnumbered floating skirts.

If standing were my only occupation
I would stretch and curve just like that tree
The one which has the feel of slowly turning
On one foot, the counterbalancing poise
Of thigh smoothed by diurnal yellows
Passive greys –

As though I dressed
Without pain and only tenderness
To meet this fleshy rendering of myself
In leaf, in branch, in forest.


Veronica Aldous 2016  All Rights Reserved



Indirah’s Silence


Indirah’s Silence
is the birds beating their wings
the green things with the wind in their hair
the hissing pebbles driven back and forth by the sea
the music which makes my pillow snore
the loaded paintbrush hitting the paper
the sweat rolling down the back of love
the emissary who asks me to leave
to sit on a stump of log
remembering the tree it once was
the strange cat in the car park
who spoke like a friend
when I was my own friend
listening to my own voice
advising me like Solomon’s butterfly
to be hushed and wise.


The Centre of Love



The Centre of Love

The heart of the flower, hidden deep in the receptacle is seed
The calyx is it’s green star, its protecting sepals raising
A bowl of surprise holding an astonishment of petals
Flurried and blushed like an priestess before her hand fasting
Casting spells of next summer down into the soil beneath.


Veronica Aldous 2016 All Rights Reserved



Her lament

The way it was, I burned myself, the red welt rose
Blistered like a punishment, a solemn mark
From a hierophant; but it was just a meal
Gone wrong, some nourishment that never  reached
The plate and lasted years, a semiology of memory
Like an elastic band twanged to make me hesitate
To ever think  regretfully
Of  he who caused my hand to shake;
Love  burns
Much fiercer when seasoned with the fear of hate.


Veronica Aldous 2016 All Rights Reserved

Teach me to sleep


Nimue and Merlin

Teach me to sleep
He whispered, now that you’ve gone
Hills answered green unfolding billows
The sheet of Lake Vyrnwy  white as sun
In hollows of caves, pink quartzes shone
In woods wide eyed flowers
Fixed on the moon
The stars all her buttons

Undone, one by one.



Veronica Aldous All Rights Reserved 2016

Painting available on Etsy shop

Day of Air and Wet Earth


The garden is fragrant with cucumber juices
A deer is nestling on some damp grasses, pressing them low
His ears make a rudimentary peace sign
The sun is a heavy sopping sluttish pillow
Flopped onto the white clouds
A bold white snail traces across the path
His eyeballs poke and retreat in the air
Which is the same consistency as his body
As wrinkled as a finger too long in the bath
He is laughing at the patterns in his mucus.
Some ghosts whisper that they lived here once
Their robes trail in the dankness
Darkening with soaked stains of hedgerow salts
Bluebells dribble onto the soil
Everything is crushed herbs, pungent
As a tongue inside another’s mouth
Searching for an answer

As a tongue inside another’s mouth
Searching for love.


Veronica Aldous All rights reserved 2016