Deadheading

Occasionally they return,
Like geraniums entwined
Around the spine of my
Corroded soul, oxidized
By rain and the gales
That to a border bind me,
Or red rosehip turned black,
Tired, surrounded by thorns,
And I found the secuteurs
In my mind likewise
Rusty and manufactured,
Like the rambles of
Dead botanic lecturers,
To only cut back brambles
And fragile tulip heads,
Until nature conceded
All germination, and growth.
Our words were said in
Reverse, devoid of feeling,
Until every word had bled
And I looked out of the
Kitchen window, beyond
The spiders and the crow
To where no flowers grow
In cells of memories.

The Jasmine And The Verbena

There are sixteen stones in my stomach,
A stone for each year since you died;
Downstream some others had reason recovered
And found the cobbled cairn inside.
Weighing me down, Tuesday’s a river
Where weekly discretely I drown,
Floating oak arbours have me delivered
Away from the city, away from the towns

Where jasmine grapples verbena,
There’s satin wallpaper from Guangzhou,
A river weaves through brown patinas
Where peonies and bamboo grow;
Beside the ducks and nide of pheasants
Sixteen stones on a shoreline found,
The tourists missed my stranded presence,
Preserved in glass, no waking sound.

Love Lies Bleeding

Our bond was forged between two places;
The sky-found fables, familiar faces,
And back in our city the seasoned disgraces.

I envied your consort on the heath,
His stubble sharp as lamprey’s teeth,
He made a garter and a wreath

And toured the church where he would kneel
Before love’s faulted spinning wheel
Which trades between what’s right and real.

As younger lovers we shared seven rings,
Your leaf’s butter-wrapping annulled nettle stings,
We tamed the marshes and the lings.

You poured your songs into wandering missels,
You gave me a crown of Tyrian thistles
And peace within my Roman epistles.

But in the river there’s catfish and perch,
The river that throttles the crumbling church,
Where Love Lies Bleeding, under a birch.

Spiraea Song

Spiraea’s blossom’s waning,
Fragile white, blanket lawn;
The neighbours haven’t stopped complaining
Since they died aged 84.
I too have lived as annual witness
To lanceolate billowed hope,
Each one just the petal’s business
To spiral over lower slopes.
Death cafés proliferate,
It started in the wi-fi;
They submerged a coastal town as bait
For a Goddess of the Magpie.
Spiraea’s blossom’s waning,
To thrive again next Spring;
If I survive the monsoon raining
I would dance with you, and sing.

First Day Nerves

Slightly shorter and undernourished,
Those seasonal times of year
When stationery sales long-lost flourished
And the oldest emotions appear.
A leather satchel handed down,
Holes and fraying handles;
A seismic shame my teachers found,
Reborn each day, self-vandalised;
I did not want the uniform,
I did not wear the sandals.
She kissed me in her morning-gown
As I stepped down from her seventh home,
(The dreaming-house they since demolished),
Without grasping who she was
Or whether she had abolished
Surnames and all that was stable.
Alphabets abounded then
And prayers preparing for Heaven;
Algorithms, and Boolean logic.
They said my head was in the clouds,
They said there is another puddle forming,
Beneath the desk, or sometimes a table.
No one read my later reports,
In their haste they emptied the office.
We escaped on our lunch breaks
To braid a chain of daisies in a garland;
Abroad, the battalions expounded.
I searched for non-existent patterns,
There was only the fray of the day;
Its textures took September hostage
And advanced into me this way.
All the decaying roots are buried,
The meadows abandoned in disarray;
In a fairy-forest, north of the border,
They recovered my head from a disused well,
For I never did find a better heavenly spell,
That day we unearthed a daffodil.

Lycoctonum

All the fuel I’ll ever need,
Is stored within your one misdeed;

A weakened heart can sometimes leak,
Silenced tongues amongst the meek.

Counsellors then knew me so well
And locked me in a stony spell;

I did not have a crust to earn,
Paralysis tick in bracken fern.

All the fuel fends apathy,
Forms scherzos in a symphony;

I have this table where I’ll sit
And that is all for me to fit;

Every wrong that went before
Becomes a song or newfound lore;

To live as long as coelacanth,
Aconite blue and amaranth.