Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Continental Drift

I tried my hand at a sestina...

I suppose you call this time fall.
It’s always autumn to me. Your alien mind
likes to speak in a distorted tongue.
And when we see the spinning leaves
drifting down an eggshell sky
I catch oak, and your hands are empty.

There half the houses stand empty,
you say as you watch rain fall.
There the world is bigger than the sky,
with room for my restless mind.
I know you pine for maple leaves,
for bittersweet syrup on your tongue.

The words are waiting to leave your tongue.
This land is small and your heart is empty.
That’s why everyone ups and leaves.
This place is paradise after the fall,
There you can be naked. No one would mind,
no one would see you bare yourself to the sky.

Through the window is my perfect sky,
the places that come easy to my tongue,
If we left maybe no one would mind
but me, I say. But if your land is empty
who would catch me in your wondrous fall?
If your land is perfect, what fool leaves?

One day I will weave from leaves
a tapestry of your autumn sky.
We’ll go where poplar and maple leaves fall,
where every red and amber seems a tongue
of flame, and where the world is empty
and gives space to your fragile mind.

Perhaps after a time I would not mind
my future in a place where everyone leaves
but you and me, where the world stands empty
but for us. I’d give you my entire Eastern sky.
Words slip easily from your honeyed tongue
and I think, after all, that I may fall.

I cannot mind your perfect pale blue sky,
your autumn leaves, your ever altered tongue,
You make me fall. With you, I am not empty.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Drift (Collected Poetry)

A collection of my poetry is now available online. 128 pages of poetry inspired by my children, current events, the questioning of religion, geology, Darwinism and 1960s television. :-)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

On Washing Up on an Autumn Day

Elbow deep, water warm.
There is a squeak to ceramic,
a smooth slip, soap and cloth,
and fingers pink with work.
Eyes on the sky through glass,
on elder offering berries to birds,
on rain washed grass, and terry towelling
hung as a surrender to life and love.
And the thought in your mind,
open like palms held to the sun,
that the water and soap, the berries
and the translucent sky, are no less you
than flesh and bone. The air in your throat
no less you than birds uplifted by wind.
The world begins at your feeling fingers,
a Möbius strip in your hands.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A Whelk, Perhaps

I shall draw myself further in,
safe in these whorls. No feelers
feeling. No fronds out-turned.
A whelk, perhaps. Invertebrate.
Safe in myself with my eyes closed,
head drawn in, curved to the
contours of this calcification.
No man is an island, entire of himself.
But I can eke out the neck of
this peninsula. I can huddle like rock,
my spine an archipelago, undiscovered.
I can stay like a soft thing, washed
by waves, moved by eternal currents,
but always held. Always safe
in Fibonacci’s constant. Curved in,
and blind, and alive in my mind.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

How The Shale Feels

I know how the shale feels.
That thin drifted piece, naked
in a pool of beach-cracked rock.
I know how each grain of
windswept waveswept sand
rubs a little and rubs again.
I know the effaced (un)importance
of the bedrock we press underfoot.
How it will not bend, but slowly erode.
How it will never bend,
but only snap once the scouring
is scoured enough.
I know you, you pressed out slab
of mud, once-alive remnant of
a time before, who teamed with microbe life.
I know that soft, soft weight of years,
that suffocating sleep
that slowly turns slip to stone.
And then the voice saying, We
will sit here. The tide’s on the turn.
Let us sit here and watch the slow sunset.
A good place to sit. And the hand
that touches the slab, small now,
scoured to thinness, feels the heat
of the day and the smoothness to the palm
and thinks nothing.
I know how the shale feels.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Isn’t There A Fanatic Somewhere In All Of Us?

What is it with you people?
You, who stand with your heads above the mist,
you with your Easter Island faces,
turned to the here and now, outward looking.
And I, here I am, elsewhere.
I balance on my straw raft,
float toward the horizon,
sea brine seeping past my toes.
In my delirium
I seek fresh water in the depths
and see monochrome men,
the lingering smoke of cigarettes,
the watch inturned and the hands adept.
Somewhere I lie with my face downturned,
my hands downstretched, catching
currents that left the shore decades past.

I couldn’t be happy in bobby socks
and outspread skirts. But.
But I will stand in the shadow by the dance hall wall.
I will watch them spin.
I will watch the play of muscle under skin,
the lucid eyes and the dark ones.
I will watch the sleek wet cling of cotton,
grained on film and left when life was vital.
I can look through the sheer water
and dream of the oxygen beneath the depths.
And dive, and dive again, and bring back pearls.

Friday, 15 June 2012

On Passing Her in the Street

Today we almost met.
You with your walnut heart,
your hatchet-blade face sharp-edged
straight on.
Today I realised how deep and wide
is the void between atoms.
How each of us is an emptiness,
each a spinning solar system,
more vacuum than dust.
Today I saw how even if I shouted
loud across that crackling void,
my words would slip between electrons
and fall, useless and unheard.
We none of us are really here,
and if I prised – or prized? – 
your walnut heart there would,
there would, be substance there –
but nothing to my taste. Nothing
but gall to my tongue.
I think, instead, I will hold facts close.
That each cell has its nucleus.
That each atom holds hands only with its kin.
That sometimes we can only speak
to those who speak back
in our own tongue.