Damoclean

Lifelong I have walked in sole-bare shoes,
With the trapdoor of my thoughts
I am going through,
Like an inverse Damoclean sword,
Like a parapet above a bamboo pit,
Each stake sharpened
By your silence as wide
As a black hole’s gingival abscess
Or a behemoth’s grin.

I walk with a shadow
Owned by self-sabotaging indiscipline,
Infrequent in me, your company,
I trod the floorboards while you
Flossed your wolfbane teeth
With cider-froth and
Complacency.

Only lately,
That lateral door’s secured
By love,
A love that endures
Longer and more fast set
Than a Trappist’s bloodstone whetting,
More than the Gordian knot
Where once we tied to dogwood
In this self-same moment
An ageing satrap’s ox;
And I, my love,
I will no longer drop.

Lachrymose

Desolate heart,
Sharp cactus needles protect you
On the one hand,
On the other they pierce you
And a blue world weeps through
To infuse you with melancholic
Ablutions and rituals
In savannah lemongrass.

Avoid generalisations,
Exaggerations and
Residual absolutes,
Plaster the holes in the sky
Perforated by two statues’ crowns
Where an impossibly white sky
Drips like a dose of milk
And gives birth to the word
Lachrymose.

For all things in
This realm remain
Within a constant knot,
Of what is possible
Tied to its same self
By what it is not.

Skylark Song

I find a form of comfort
In the ley-like lines,
Dowsing in our jumpers,
Rains from time to time.
A nimble skylark hopping
Between sharp rose hip drops,
Blessed as ivy on the tor
And snow on mountaintops.
Deft she pirouettes through thorns
Which prick a human finger;
I recalled a union there
Wherein my heart she lingers.
If you see a skylark rare
Within a trellised vine,
Consider how the heartbeat there
Is more and more divine.

Ballad Of The Paradigm Bar

We thought it was over,
At last we had won,
When my friend on the left said
We forgot someone.
The first time’s defeating
Took only a sneeze,
When for so long we had strived
With barrels and pleas.
Answers revised
Aide memoires ease
More questions answered,
Future disease.

A band of fourteen,
Four in the quiz,
I changed my commission,
Ministerial mistresses
None of my business;
A bowlful of pears,
Furnished with access
To high state affairs –
A royal parade,
Burnishing stairs,
A wide walking hat,
A yukka bears witness,
At my chamber window
Tap tap taps,
Provoked by a gale,
The sheltered despair,
Sometimes you lose the ones
For whom you most care.

Empty church Sundays,
But today people flooded
The aisles and the pews,
Hypocrisy lives
In televised queues;
Panicking vicar
But a subaltern knew
Just what to do.
In a village park grounds,
In a VIP queue,
I held your hand lissom
And said under pink blossoms
Can I now stay with you.

Impossible questions
Know their own answers;
I am always the author
Of every disaster.
He landed with impact,
(Give devil his dues),
Clearly on schedule
Though the landlord was new.
He was maddenly-made
By air dissolute,
Absconded with Judy,
The air turning blue.
Inaccessible realms
He vanishes through,
Stalks with clawed pride
Or licks his were-wounds.
A chalkboard sign
At the paradigm bar
Promoted a prize
For a bet on a horse.

End of the world,
Girl and a boy,
He summoned me forward,
Determined with ploy
To settle the matter
Of whether the planet
Would be swallowed
Or not, (my love on the floor
In white lace collapsed)
He challenged me
(As if I was a saviour
And not, instead,
A man of small means
And compulsive behaviour),
To a game of
Shove ha’penny
By the bar’s exit door.

I always lose games,
What chance did I have?,
As I took hold of some silver
From his crumbling hand;
My coin landed flat
On that crucial puck,
At the opportune Time
I found my friend Luck,
What happens next –
Whosoever could tell,
I rose from my sleep
As if from a spell,
Kettle boiled yellow,
Ham on toast,
The yukka outside
Asked who is the Host.

We thought it was over,
That we had won,
Yet in any winning
Is the end of a song;
Enjoy every moment
Before it’s over
And gone.

Virgola Pergola

Virgola, questa è la mia ode a te,
Ladro di spazio e tempo
Annidato tra costrutti più solidi,
Gambe di lettere e pilastri
Di parole e cuneiformi
Che senza di te
Suonerebbe assurdo.
Una goccia di inchiostro, una macchia,
Inalando prima del preferito
Riverberi di avverbi
Che non può essere differito
E non sarà contestato;
A volte rosso come il petto
Del pettirosso nella boscaglia,
Chi, dice la leggenda
Ha ottenuto tinture nel petto
Dal bagno nelle acque insanguinate
Del nostro Signore crocifisso.

Lady In The Lake

Observe that certain beauty
In the dying light,
And though the signage
Read ‘Beware’,
I still conceived the flight.

The swans disguised as geese,
The geese disguised as swans;
Westward went that fleeting skein
Mellifluous my remorse.

For I have known the bones of snow
And blood redeemed from ice,
And I’d beware and warded off
The lady once or twice.

She lives in a long-lost village,
Submerged within that lake,
And when a poet’s heathen-set
His soul she gets to take.

I thought his sword rescinded,
A thrush his throat well-caught,
Ripple-effects reverted,
Silent as a corpse.


I Caught A Certain Joyousness

I caught a certain joyousness
In a potter’s wheel,
The pedal turns the morning rain
Upon my windowsill.

I found a flawless form of light
In a Blacksmith’s Arms,
She called me from a willow trunk
And brought me out of harm.

I followed through a rabbit hole
The image of myself,
Rolling down a childhood hill,
For childhood was my wealth.

And though my wealth was stolen,
And placed upon a bark,
I sailed across an ocean bare
And dreaming in the dark.

Nothing good may come this way
To remedy what’s past;
That isolated bairn has gone,
The future now is cast.

Grey Moon

Grey skies, grey moon,
Lanterns all abandoned on the old pontoon;
Coldest rain, not quite snow,
Furloughed ghosts on shoreline roads.

Grey skies, blue moon,
Soonest mended isn’t soon;
I found you in a curlew’s tomb,
Curfew banners and a clue.

Moses basket, river child,
In the mists we walked a mile;
On surfaces bob the sombre boons,
Grey skies, a greyhound moon.