Just Passing Through

A charm of ardent finches
Passing through my garden,
To destinations far-flung
I will never fathom.

On fat and seeds they feasted,
A peanut holder emptied;
Toured a moss-floored hut
I built, but had me pardoned.

They gave a fleeting glimpse
Of nature green and golden,
Before at swifter speeds depart,
Quick as dreams unfolding.

I wish a Goddess orchestrating
These finches on the wing,
Would rest on this poetic fence
Before the storm begins.

A Resurrection

In the corner of my eye
I glimpsed a fragile butterfly,
Did you see it too?
It turned into an earthquake,
I didn’t know
Quite what to do.

Underneath a raindrop
Sleeping on a leaf,
I found a missing compass point,
I found a burning heath;
Dharma in a rainbow’s breadth
Ninth wonder in a sheaf.

In the corner of my eye
I glimpsed a resurrection,
Did you see it too?
It turned into a moonlit moth,
And now I know
Just what to do.

Ode To A Garden Snail, Part 2

Little snail,
Evening journey,
You made it so far;
Will you one day
Reach a yard in to
Something like me?

If you have to,
And I hope you may do,
I am sorry now
For inevitably what
You must go through;
Blackbird beak,

Your shell will leak,
The soil below takes
Its toll. We will
Exchange in time
Our pace, our hearts.
Just keep in mind

And keep your guard,
For there are magpies,
There are sparrows
Who’ll tear you apart;
Stay steady young snail,
You’ll do better by far.

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.

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.