I Went For A Walk Outside Our Hotel And This Is What I Discovered

I found a secret pond
Hidden behind our hotel,
Undisturbed by human touch
As far as I could tell.

Cow parsley abounded,
Poppies and wild orchids
As high as an ox’s haunches,
As quiet as a glade where

Kine chewed their cuds;
Harbingers of summer rain,
They survived for years
Near this pond in a spell

Without knowing.
I later researched the spot
And read in a local newspaper
(On a whirring microfilm reader

In a library which burnt down
To appease an arsonist’s wishes;
It was not rebuilt but
That’s another plot)

About a boy found nearby,
Murdered thirty years ago,
Face down in a muddy brook
Which filtered through that pond;

His body turned to browns
Then younger dust, as does
Memory, as does Love.
The ox transformed before

My eyes to become a great
Black swan with a neck as long
As a distant sun, like beams
Which slipped through our blinds

In the hotel room we shared
As I kissed your back, and
Inhaled, and found a mole
Beside your spine I had not

Observed until that afternoon,
Just like the pond and
The boy and the swan;
They all took flight.

I kissed you there as you slept,
Grateful for your affirmations,
Your vivacity, your life,
And I thought about a community

Seeking a child through
The scrub and the reeds
And the sum of all strife
They would not find alive.

The Place Of Mistakes

Here, the God of Hammers reigns,
Long live the God of Hammers!
Swinging clubs, set me in place,
Secured in Plasters of Paris.

I looked into that pit of Hell
Where he tossed his mallets;
There I lost my sense of smell
And all the sensate palettes.

From my perch the lightning
Bruised throughout his business;
I hear that loathsome striking still
Within a loamy distance.

He pushed me through the hole
Of souls, in to new abysses;
In this way, I claimed coal,
Feeding the fire of kisses.

Il Vino Fa Buon Sangue

You were born from a glass of wine
My grandmother glugged, from time
To time, though her predilection was sherry.
She met a man who shaved off his name
And slurred his words without any shame
Before sleeping on a last ferry.

She said she had wine in her blood,
Il vino fa buon sangue;
He died in the depths of a biblical flood,
Forgetting lingua franca.

Touring pubs of our childhood,
You urged the same for your son and your daughter;
Everyday miracles misunderstood,
Wine turned within us to water.

There’s A Blossom Lasting Longer

There’s a blossom lasting longer
Somewhere in my heart;
Secure, do you belong there?
They said it won’t restart.

It may have fallen from a tree
When cherry blossom’s over;
Petalled seasons aren’t for me,
Feeling better by October.

These sensations take me back
Without compelling reason;
Rose oil scent, where pink is black,
My heart committed treason.

No One Here Will Now Rejoice

No one here will now rejoice,
Standing at your place of rest,
Mellifluous music lost its voice
With secrets in your chest.

Your breath had softly pressed
A flower for love to linger;
In my dreams you’re still caressed,
A ring’s still on your finger.

This may be my one last visit,
Horror’s living longer;
Torrid, turbulent, once exquisite,
What kills me makes me stronger.

Twelfth Man

Stadia empty,
Thousands of seats,
Just like Maymana’s,
They hanged
Oppositions by
The skin of
Their teeth.
Bleachers for ghosts,
Capitalists disrobed,
Revealing themselves,
En masse opportunists
Inadvertantly proving
Forks in their mouths.
They used to say
Your lungs must swell
With tribal songs,
Partisan songs,
Forgotten origins,
Often abusive,
Made bold by a throng;
If you could buy
Magazines on matchday
That would certainly help
The eleven along.

When your team’s
In trouble, you’re a
Wind at their backs,
Oxygen as thick
As an Aeolian god’s
In their muscles.
They said ‘you are
The difference’,
Fine margins, they said,
Alongside dietary carbon,
Training regimes
And abstinence;
We created the seams,
Winnings and loss,
They would have you
Treat brothers
As starving stray dogs
If this prevented
A punt or a shot.

Artificial sounds
Abound around
The groundsman’s turf,
A theory from executives
No less, God Bless,
Who should have greater
Concerns to consider
Than how audiences
With flexible payment
Plans, glued at home,
Might feel more at ease
And comfortable, more
Palatable, like watching
A weather forecast
Before hangings
With popcorn.

Teams do not need
A twelfth man
When a crowd can
Be appropriated.
It’s another illusion,
Another corporate
Wolf disguised by
Their own myths;
They’ve taken all
Life’s purities,
Alchemied to
Monied dross.

Recordings of crowds!
Dictators do something
Similar, and photoshop
Inaugural scenes of
Huge adoring numbers,
Thin as a toupe turned
As thick as my hair in
Sixteen weeks
Of pandemic.
Recordings yes,
From before the
Outbreak,
Delirium, for a ball
In a net or between
Two sticks
They did not see
By eleven men
They had not met.

So if I extend this
Principle as only
Poets are able,
What else are we told
In this abstract
Lonely world must
Make a difference,
(Until we thrust and
Pour our pennies and
Our hopes down the
Open throats of those
Made rich by our
Poverty of thought,
Of those constructs
We would have worn
A shirt for, would
Vote in their flags
And sworn allegiance,
Would sometimes see
Our sons die before
Their cause, buried in a
Small and unkempt
Cemetery on the hill
Behind our village;
And yet, when all’s
Peeled back like
A dead girl’s eyelids,
Sometimes with time,
Sometimes by cynics,
Stripped, laid bare,
Rabbits dressed as hares
With nothing significant
In their stomachs),
But which instead
Mattered not once
Through heaven’s
Grafted hours
Nor the grace of
Earthly minutes.

A Rescue

I found your children where you
Buried them, deep in my dreams,
For no one would go there
Forraging except the blind
And myself, we had no choice,
Which you did not predict,
And so I found them both, I did,
Wide-eyed, innocent mannerisms
With unconditional love towards
Their inexplicable parents.

Underneath dream-bracken,
You had no time for dignity
Or wherewithal to cover
Your tracks, and so I woke
Both gently, and they held my
Hands as we searched high
And low for their mother,
To reunite you only to show
What you had succumbed to
In giving up your title.

A caravan park on a clifftop,
Seas in my dreams are different,
Infinite wildernesses in grey,
Violent expressions of emotions
Suppressed, we searched through
Excessively overstocked and
Busy campsite shops and bars,
An outdoor pool, a clamour
In chlorine and glorious swimwear,
As busy as lidos’ 1960s heydays,

They held my hands all the while
As we walked the miles we had to
Cover, until we found a white
Wooden signpost with your name
Painted in a blank font as if you’d
Become a coastal village, but
Instead of miles, the miles
Directed me in years, pointing
Towards a hidden beach, a cove,
Sands where truth exposed you

Out of sight and reach,
Or so you thought in my dream
Interrogating and sweeping
Low coasts like a disused
But incessantly-working
Self-determined lighthouse beam,
On the way to that village
As it shifted from being inland
To now lifted above the
Culmination and climax

Of my sorrows. We descended
A makeshift path between two dunes
To where you cavorted with
Dream-formed friends, balls
And assorted balloons. At last I
Returned two beautiful children
To you; your feigned joy appalled
Yet did not surprise the atoning.
I collapsed to my knees, exhausted,
Knees in sand, and woke alone.