Death Of An Obsessive (Twelfth Sonnet)

Lunch after Sunday, a walk with our dogs,
Over stiles clambered, some lumberjacked logs,
Through cowpatted herd-fields, a traced rabbit path,
And beyond the axe-pond where sometimes we’d bath,
To find that cottage, abandoned and dark,
From lintel and jambs hanged swallow and lark;
Roofs sunk to woodworm, gnawed holes from the rot,
A cracked window showed the home of a sot.
Children had played on the rosebay-raped swards,
Supper’s at seven, your heels on the boards;
White linen’s fresh, pegged to washing lines sang,
Before words turned beneath ivy to slang.
These losses framed by a mind’s fatal breath;
An airbag inflated, scene of a death.

How A Black Cat Came To Symbolise Bad Luck

We found a stray, sympathetic beings
Come what may, to universal plights
Known by neglected domesticated
Mammalia these days, for extinction
Is less a mass event, it’s a slow unwinding overnight,
Finding craters and sink holes appeared.
Neighbours said ‘this stray, it will bring you luck’,
But it’s getting a little late for that.

Mangy hair, a silver bell made proclamations
Like an Emperor of Sounds, and we didn’t complain.
Blue collar, no name engraved on a non-existent disc,
A slightly wild-eyed glare as the stray
Ate all the tuna we placed in a bowl
On the patio. He ate like an empty-stomached wolf
Whose belly rumbled in time to forest rainstorms
And whose timber ribs ached through every bone.

No care for recrimination, nor reprisal;
Naturally, he returned each day to his gorging place
With increasing confidence and weight
Bordering on insouciance and later
Encasing lipids, sat beside the back door,
His claws clicked along the porch,
No doubt walking over graves;
For one day we drove to work, unaware

That constant betrayals bled berried thoughts throughout.
Arriving home, three blackbirds mauled,
Three less songs. Those empty nests.
Avian throats provoked a furore of Sophoclean choruses within willow-fleeces
For sons eviscerated indiscriminately
By a stray that was not hungry, had no need;
A tiger never forgets its claws, and neither did he.

Chanting, yes, the aggressor’s name,
Empathies of sparrows wore masks
Regardless. So they stripped the cat
Of his title, its talismanic black
Entitlement and charms, and we received
In dreams instructions from the flock
To trap and stop his fortune, eternally,
In a waving form, in porcelain.

They said this last one will bring you luck,
Handing the charm to a boy at the front,
Just like the maneki-neko in future versions Of Kobe, or Tokyo; on a sea-front,
Kimono-wrapped, now found in restaurants,
In plastic, or ceramic, and fabric-wrapped,
Guarding fish shops and arcades
Which, in time, replaced pagodas and temples.

Bluebird Ballad

Through this time of catastrophes
And near misses,
The Tower Of Winds and Hypotheses
Would measure your kisses
As Cyrillic keys pressed
Like notes from a typist,
Pinned to a wall
In a traveller’s room
From Budapest to Athens.
We absorb each other
In dissimilar ways,
The weather-vane spins
With bluebirds in rain;
Possessive apostrophes misused,
A crack in the bath,
A lack of sleep and
An aftermath in blue;
Every village has its limits.

Strange to consider then
How we are the same
As when many months of the Moon retraced
Lands me lost in a Saturday
When I bought your book,
Your anthology, that’s still
I confess, not fully read
Nor, I confess again, much understood,
But the passion and the act
Of guerillas uprising through verse
Had me infatuated.
Same eyes, yes, same hair,
Same faultlines from a post-war flare,
Standing on the self-same spot
More or less in Cambridgeshire
As if the bookseller’s plot
And my unmade bed
Are layers in blue
Of the High Poetess, on her
Alter cloth and within her dress.

If a curse made the earth
The size of a grain,
The universe inversely would shrink again
To the size of the inhabited planet,
Before from the massive mass it sinks.
If I carry my chances in marginal atoms
Why does my heart still roam untamed?
Reunite us on the beach
Held together with words and speech,
Type a letter of love to reach
Beyond the sands of time and graves.