A Buddleia

Observed from my kitchen window, a full spry-spray:
A Buddleia. Grey-tongued beneath its nodding fronds, at first
An apparition, its panicles panning for yellow froths,
Then amassed its weirdly regal form in three months gone.

Less brute force than the Rhododendron’s furtive blues
Which suffocate with friendly hues
The village church’s lych-gate,
And all who enter the shades of where

It swiftly descends and suppresses there
Like an eagle in full flight, or the unfathomable octopus
Bound to bottomless seas its endless prey with baleful cries.
The Buddleia’s leaves sag and sigh like a dying dinosaurs belly –

A horticultural Sauropod.
When pruned a viscous lime-like
Jelly wept and seeped, its blood the blood of ages deep,
Long before Linnaeus tamed it in 1753.

And higher up, propagated fronds unfurl in pearls of
Sun-blanched yellow – Perpendicular to my oriel
Such vigorous, verdant stalks thrust themselves
Into the acidic soil like primordial tusks,

Or an Inuit harpoon traversing a celestial arc afar,
Far beneath my garden’s heart, then spins into a husk and barks.
Transmogrified, a leaf falls, turns into tar, its self-made myth
To tell, in centuries not yet heard of.

Hermes had a wreath of cymes, in purples and in lilacs.
These plumes fell too, and pollenated well
On all the heralds’ tombs: a quarry field, the abandoned school,
And those embankments just beyond the border

Where once time’s locomotive flew and triumphed,
Its empty carriages rattle still, while the Buddleias wave and usher.

Advice From A Distance Is Easy To Give

Mid-battle, blood splattering at your unclad feet
And bodies, bodies clattering and falling all about
Like sacrificial cattle, the meat
That until their widow-weaving rout’s
Complete cannot restore a balance;
Not for gout-struck gods within their office –
(At least Hephaestos had his talents),
Until every conscript’s coppiced.
Every time the slaughter passed
Behind a scurry, I heard your pains;
Though I was chained abroad and forced
By watchful seaborne banes
To whittle down an intervening year,
Then in those shadows still
I felt your tendons ache, your mettle near
Its breaking place – courageous spirits fill
The cage as courting birds
Are bred to rage – I catch your sweat
In unsent heralds, hear words
Of panic and sentences dismantled – and yet
Triumph’s in your comforting return;
I soak your sombre brow at night,
Coax you in your sleeping flight to burn,
For triumph’s trailing all we fear to fight.

[JV-2]

Exequy

Quotidian ant,
Carrying atoms to
His catacombs
Raised dust above his shoulders.
Dust is the pismire’s prophet –
From crumbs come something allegoric.

A workaholic
Burdened by
Some inner colic
Pestled with a cigarette
The insect on her desk.
Two, three decades on,

As I attend
My final death
May God pluck me
From mortal measured depths
And postpone the sacrifice.
I am yet for living.

[JV-1]