THE RIVER

27th August, 2017

First grief was a broken stone,
cleft by the troubled frost
of a season come too soon.
It fell clattering from the crag
to lodge awhile – jagged, sharp –
in the icy waters of the gill, until
a spring melt swept it down the scar.

And though I knew the sting of each
and every knock against unyielding rock,
by tick, by tock,
I watched the corners wear and flake
all in the ache of summer rain.
So slow it came to lower slopes
where patient depths could weigh a softer frame
against a brighter sky
reflected in the rolling swell.

Now tumbling with the flow,
each turn of days erodes a little more.
Ahead perhaps are falls
and rapids yet unmapped;
the fleeting squalls can dark the glass
and yet they pass
to leave a stillness deepened.

Some day, out on the spreading plain I’ll stand
to watch the trees aflame with setting sun,
and find there on the bank
of a sandy wide meander,
such a smooth and weathered pebble
to fit neatly, lightly, in my palm.
Till then, I’ll keep you close,
and bear you gently through the storms,
on the moving currents of my heart.

 

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DIVIDING LINES

May, 2017

There’s a no-man’s land between you and I;
a band of grey, brown tufted through,
bare metres wide and lined in razor heights:
a margin,
where Nature scribbles her faltering pen.

My side, she writes constrained:
a close-controlled, redacted chapter;
for you the land’s bestrewn with reams
cast by her sweeping arm,
where kestrels dive from blue
through wanton arcs of vivid ink
to sink in yellow fields
and rise triumphant.

Yet heedless are the ones who perch
plump and unconcerned,
this side or that,
to murmur greetings that disturb our faith
in the rulings of the clumsy quill of man.

Scattered Mumbles

04/02/2017
SCATTERED MUMBLES

The pale and swelling chestnut shells,
their spines not yet staunch in purpose,
cast August in hanging shades of Autumn
while the air is yet to hang redolent
with the smoulder of gardeners’ rakings.

So too, February brings the scattered mumbles
of wood pigeons, as they clear their throats
in slow recall of how a Spring is made
not just from light and eager growth,
but with steady promise of what’s yet to come.

SHADES OF SEPTEMBER

27/08/2016

This year’s fractal clouds seem closer;
something’s subtly shifted,
lifted – though the mist’s still drifting.
I think of you, and can’t say why
the sweep of skies is wider
out beyond the wire horizons.
Out there the wind still sighs
through tops of trees
whose trunks I never see;
the bees tell me the world’s the same,
that nothing’s changed
unless it’s me.

A wider world is hard to hold
in mind
when mine’s so small –
for all the ways I fill my time.
And when I try,
I find the details clog my head.
But still, you’re always somewhere there –
a thread that’s loose, abstract,
yet fast attached.

And floating
down the microscope, you’re there,
a pair of tiny rings
somehow holding everything you’ll be
in four small clumps of light and shade
that flowing years have billions made
to build familiar lines in eyes
or soft reflect a pensive smile
that I’ve not seen in so much time.

Yet, I can smile,
when your faces find me
through early morning August air;
when sunrise stillness holds a promise
of blackberries and drifting leaves
in chestnut scenes,
and I believe you’re finding joy.
Yes, I can smile,
when I see you in shades of September.

Visitor

9th June, 2016
VISITOR

I think you’d love me better now
(not that you could, or should).
I’ve been working on sides that I
was hiding (from)
like a polygon
cautiously probing the third dimension.

I didn’t believe in emotions
because they don’t make sense
(but in their defence,
neither does wave-particle duality),
and in my recent reality
I still don’t believe in salad
(though I know it exists),
but I eat it, now and then.

And again, there are things I
accept
(‘believe’ is too strong)
that I said I never could (I was wrong).
Like uncertainty, unprovability,
and things bigger than me
(like mice, or most things really).
Though of course (being me)
I still have to approach
tangentially.

Now I’ll seek (like a leech)
to feed on emotion
and find empathy with the troubling notions
of minds unconnected to mine
(so far I’ve not told myself why);
and sometimes I’ll let myself cry
at the predicted progression
of a plot full of holes
while I silence (and softly console)
my inner voice of derision.

But now don’t mistake me
(as I have, and I do, time to time);
I can still be the one
(calculating and cold)
who weighs and measures all with dispassion
(disregarding all feeling and soft intuition)
who, untroubled, would photograph tears newly cried:
because all data is sacred.

Still, I think now I see
(at least, more often)
that there’s more to the data than information:
areas that aren’t found by integration;
spaces between certainties where something’s just ‘right’,
the places between pixels
where love meets light.

Then I’ll wake
(in the dark)
in a haze of joined-up-thinking
and comprehend, for a moment,
the whole of something.
Like,
where my life has left yours.
I can’t live there for long,
but now I can visit.

SOMNIS VERITAS

05/04/2016

I’ve been travelling again;
through the woods, along strange paths.
Bare earth and worn winding roots:
I squeeze through wire on wooden posts.
Crawling the convoluted stairways of the exhibition,
and wondering why I’ve three pairs of shoes,
but no socks.

Sussurations of smiling strangers
while my rucksack’s unpacked:
the captives run the system now.
Past the flimsy signal box
over miniature tracks long buried in mud,
my bare feet avoid the manure.
But then,
awake.

 

“The Death of a Tree”

01/02/2015

There is no heart that stops its beat,
no lungs, and no last breath released;
there are no eyes that finally close
or cease to see in glazed repose.
Sap slows its flow from root to leaf
so gently there’s no prompt for grief;
time takes the twigs and breaks the boughs,
but death is never simply “now”;
the roots will rot and bark will fall,
yet no time marks the end of all.

So by degrees a tree recedes,
we shed our tears and plant new seeds,
and fallen branches must be turned
to seasoned staves and lessons learned.
Our past runs through the wood we use
to build again and start anew:
for love is patient, love is kind,
and as the timber knots unwind,
along with memories of the rain,
the love lives on, deep in the grain.