The Measure

October rains;
I found a tape-measure
Underneath my pillow.
You placed it underneath
My dreams’ verses
Which revert to dramaturgic
Heathlands and dried,
Harvested high-hung wheat
In faded, yellow sheaves,
Kernels cradling hope
Like a jaundiced newborn
Baby in the arms
Of a nurse’s labours
Which are as wide as heaven,
As firm as a popular truth,
And that is the measure
Of how far our love
Endured and endeavoured
To find one another,
Over the thirteen seas
And under a gabled roof,
A pillow filled with straws
Which fall from the hearts
Of winnowing stars.

L’eternità è intatta

Rain doesn’t stream
Asunder the sea,
Nor be in hurries
Today for my needs.

I’ve seen through storm-troubles
For years less remembered;
By its own great weight
A sea- bed is tempered.

Ashamed of existing,
More waters have laws
Than my calcified heart.
Il mio calore è per l’inverno, sempre;
L’eternità è intatta come l’arte.

The bones of an ocean’s regrets;
Troubles redoubled
Do not go away,
When years are persisting
And the sea is still grey.

The Meaning Of Fish

The meaning of fish
In my angling firth,
My minnow mind slipped
And did not deserve.

Alluvial sediment,
Disinterment deferred,
Shifting sands seen
On a dark shiftless earth.

Croaker-bait,
Poison hook;
Reeled from a river,
My gauche gawping look.

The meaning of fish
Too late I would learn,
For if not for fish, or
Water-weeds and worms,

I would not exist
From a loch to the burn,
And my scaly-grey heart
Would no longer yearn.

An Unrestarted Heart

This road is the road of my death.
I stood motionless in its lucid waters
Where parallel to the ocean

I speared a neon fish.
He admonished me with a fossilising
Shock of ages, waged in his eyes

Which were tiny, glaucous opals.
He once danced and shone
In shoals unknowable as stars.

I am opposed to my own taxidermy.
Standing in the sea leaves me thirsty.
The sky is perforated by jars

For storing a catch which is ours.
Lobsters, swordfish, octopus hearts,
Once the muscle is stopped

It’s almost impossible to restart.
I witnessed it only once, as a boy,
And mythology claimed it for herself.

How far we had journeyed.
I envisioned my existence
With gulls and oppressive seasalt air

Which stripped the elders of teeth
And their ability to remain human,
Their silence as fragile as chalk,

And it corroded all moments
And customs, the colours of
Spring summoned in my lover’s hair,

The jigs of tradition around
A pole each townsmen bore
To the beach with such gravitas

Commensurate only to their souls;
The saline air froze time,
Woven into their hair, banded

Together like a comet’s tail,
Like the spawn of the golden eels
Which are reeled in by fishermen

With the sun tattooed into
Their ganseys. I too will be spry
And fry, live and die,

There is nothing starker.
For now, I arrive and I cry
Behind my steering wheel,

A harpoon through my hope,
Ego skewered by a dart
Outside an unlit supermarket.