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.

A Peatland Fire

Fire on the heath!
Flames are fanning heat
Inside a famished tiger’s teeth;

His cinder-lolling tongue
Tastes borders of grass parched
On the levee-surrounded

Island retreat, home to
Nightjars also known
On southern moors

As Goatsuckers, bizarrely,
Crespuscular-loving Roe Deers,
Adders in the reeds

And hawking Hobby Birds
Through longer summers sleep.
Bog Moss grows here too,

Bitter Berries for calming nerves
And promulgating peace
Across the prairie-reserve

Of my mind,
Where passions conspire
And ego confined.

Impunities of fire,
Merciless tiger-like intent,
So he contemplated dharma

In a higher monastery,
And mementoes from markets
Still selling today in Tibet;

Untrodden Himalayan
Glaciers will repent
And retreat from his breath,

Untouched by well-worn piolets
And crampons, where violets
Cling to the crags

Like old thoughts,
Geranium perfumes
And bright patchouli,

By the prayer-side sight
Of my Lama,
I caught a momentary odour,

And then the fire subsided,
A tiger’s stripes defeated
If not forever the tiger.

Countryside Scylla

She wore clothes in the country way,
Waxy coat with stoat-skin underlay,
Cottonopolis cloth in Wellington boots
Appearing behind the hawthorn roots.
This landed lady lost two of her dogs
Somewhere beyond the dream-line fogs,
My task to pursue both near and far,
I could not see her Isabella fur-hidden scar.
Traversing hills and greenfinch lanes
I searched through snow and seven rains,
Crossing torrents, the Fells in spate,
All memories she would eradicate,
Until I crossed a last long moor
And found the exhausted Labrador
Alongside a shadowing Sheltie.
I returned to my love bareback on a Kelpie,
Imagined rewards, her embrace and her kiss,
But I had wandered far from such bliss,
For her head had since turned a form of darker:
A country lady’s body bound to an Ovcharka.

River Road

The effortless ego now observed
Pulled from sand as a nematode
That’s bait for jaw of carp and perch.
I cannot stand on the bridge of myself
For exploring the falling is not without
The water disturbed and a cry for help,
At the green-reed ford the flow’s interrupted
By hikers, a sheepdog, a car is corrupted.
Weighted down with wants and verbs,
Further down with opposable thoughts,
Further down with what is deserved;
Iridescent skin, unblinking eye,
His thoughts the distinction between you and I,
Singular purpose the turbid survived,
As anglers on a leafier side
Stretched, and yawned, and rested awhile.