I am your red-moon camisole,
A cheongsam of satin,
Lunar satraps patterned there,
A chaffinch in the cabbage.
I am your wardrobe’s winter-wear,
I trapped to bay a blizzard,
Then husky-sleighs across the lake
Beneath an eagle’s eyelid.
I am the fire in the hearth
When you return from working,
And water-ice for your champagne,
Cheongsam drapes a surface.
Observe that certain beauty
In the dying light,
And though the signage
I still conceived the flight.
The swans disguised as geese,
The geese disguised as swans;
Westward went that fleeting skein
Mellifluous my remorse.
For I have known the bones of snow
And blood redeemed from ice,
And I’d beware and warded off
The lady once or twice.
She lives in a long-lost village,
Submerged within that lake,
And when a poet’s heathen-set
His soul she gets to take.
I thought his sword rescinded,
A thrush his throat well-caught,
Silent as a corpse.
Grey skies, grey moon,
Lanterns all abandoned on the old pontoon;
Coldest rain, not quite snow,
Furloughed ghosts on shoreline roads.
Grey skies, blue moon,
Soonest mended isn’t soon;
I found you in a curlew’s tomb,
Curfew banners and a clue.
Moses basket, river child,
In the mists we walked a mile;
On surfaces bob the sombre boons,
Grey skies, a greyhound moon.
Cycle lanes abound
Around the lakes – leaves float down
Like undisturbed tears.
I miss those frosty mornings,
Snowfall on a ridge;
Icicles on the awnings,
Amethyst laps the bridge.
I’m not for city dwelling,
My heart is with my love;
But she resides in times gone by
While half a soul’s above.
And so I miss those winters,
For winters warm as this;
Where we walked a lakeside path,
And found a moment’s bliss.
Capabilities I traded
Some marshland moons ago,
No safeguard now for faculties,
My soul beneath the snow.
Snow-blind winter mirage,
Mistaking those colourless plains;
Snow is her own camouflage,
I misspoke her forty names.
Forty words for snow misspelt,
Fall from unknown heights,
Crystalline, and each unique,
To drift with inner blight.
I carried her lumen inside me
Throughout an adult’s candle-flux;
They scoured the lakeside vainly,
An isthmus village’s populous.
Wearing bear and beaver furs,
Who sought to revive my life,
Bitter friends, beloved strangers,
My heart’s beneath the ice.
On the lonely lake I conspired
To seal the eternal fate,
O lovely lake of long-lost summers
Now endlessly frozen in place.
Choose your moments wisely
For sacrifice found me and plight,
Resuscitation, love, is fruitless,
When death’s disguised as life.
Her lifeless body he hauled on the lake,
The shape is frozen, snowflakes shrouding,
The silence of the ice resounding,
Where Saffron Cod and Trout will shake
Legends of graves from their fins.
At this time of year, progress is slow
For the hunters of cougars in blinding snow
And braces of ptarmigan skins.
The cairn-stones said that Time
Lacks consequence for the dead,
But then there’s much the cairns have said
Which would not reach a hunter’s rhyme.
For with diligence of seasons,
And bare bones of detective seargents’
Marriages, the mountains mirror argents
Where sheer whites bite with lesions
He was thwarted by the thawing sheet.
Secrets return to shores I have seen,
Despite exertions, and ballast being keen,
The past and future splinter and meet.
Unageing, fixed by photographs,
Friends and family remember remarks;
You resurface when a dream disembarks
And deceives, seemingly sending telegraphs,
Sometimes it is hard to tell
Whether you speak of where you are now,
Or if the mind with withered bough
Deceives between its health and hell.
Afterlife, he makes that journey every day,
Lugging the load of himself on his pelt
To where the ice-sheet starts to melt,
And we are on our way.
There is a Preacher waiting
Beyond the seventh lodge,
These words prepared are gravitating
If goodness leaves its watch.
A Gravedigger from the village
Gave birth, to a Perpetrator’s wires,
We cannot restore the image
From before you wandered the mires;
For they excavate an oblong hole
And with a Carpenter conspire,
As single-minded as the mole,
The mole with a mind of fire.
Earthworms hoarded in his tunnels,
Thoughts down there we cannot absolve.
The criminal-in-waiting constructing funnels,
Humanity stirring sanity, when mixed dissolve,
Paid to lathe a cedar box
He slipped into the void,
The space and filling where a fox
Had life’s spiders all destroyed.
The woodland will witness silently
How soil’s disturbed so easily,
The muted lake’s complicity,
The backhoe rested queasily,
His bed a spade, his mind now trapped.
And yet these three men are moving still,
We hear the sounds of Time elapsed,
While you are stones on the furthest hill.
We remember your joyfulness and laughter,
Mellifluous more than spring-tide streams;
We love you all forever after,
In waking grief and grieving dreams.
We’ll cloak your permanent youth in gold
And resurrect your beauty;
Something happened which can’t be untold,
Conforming to spinsterly duty.
We are faster in our failing,
We carry your bones in our cages,
We are stronger when we are ailing,
We have suffered the fourteen stages.
The ingenuity is endless
Of mens’ cruelty so defenceless;
Our daughters all now friendless
For those nights loom long and senseless.
Guard the path beside the lake,
Daughters home before seven,
May you never read this at the wake,
For there are no rules in heaven.
[For S. and For U., in my thoughts and prayers when I wrote this].
I fell into the lake of self-despair
And saw the bodies hidden there,
Beneath a thickset shelf of ice.
I lay in several states transfixed,
As gliding shapes of skaters mixed
With sounds of drowning edelweiss.
I heard the parents take their leave,
Returning home to wash and grieve;
I saw them at the shoreline twice
And then how soon they disappeared,
The search teams too, who volunteered;
Compassion has no asking price.
This did not happen quite this way,
But it’s the feeling day by day
When courage and care go missing.
There is no one fitter than you today
To break through floes fixed in your way
And find new times for reminiscing.
Siberian huskies brought on a sleigh
Bottles of confidence brewed to say
The shames of old I’m dismissing.
Find my hand through the frozen midway,
Mountains and rivers with summer will stay,
Together for written rhythms fishing.