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.
Your young heart yearned to return to the lake
Where the River Poulter’s breeching;
You read through a billet, decisions to make,
His words bubbled up beseeching.
With a parasol perambulate,
Ornamental bridge with a padlock;
Day visitors now will emulate
From Nottingham to Matlock.
You’ll pass in dreams the sluice and weir,
Pipes burp water to workers;
Horse chestnuts dress your path each year,
Your lover left for mazurkas.
They stripped the Hall of timber and bricks,
Snow for sheets where you slumber;
They stowed pianos and candlewicks
In crates with a stamp and a number.
I found the marsh where you would pause
For yaffle-sounds and bramble;
Still the swans preserve the laws,
And the lambs in the fields still gambol.
Dragonboat fresh soul,
Orange lanterns float skywards;
Old joys, lake-buried.
Our secular Cnut,
The Water Secretary
Sprouts floods and targets.
Crow throat calling me,
Bird from the Hesperides;
Wolves brought you to me.
The things that nature makes
I cannot escape
The wires in my head
Send their eggs
Into the nest.
My life then,
A series of endings
An event horizon without end.
I walked by a swan
Atop the water’s surface;
The same as the one before.
The water carries its bare stories,
Blocked by a dam
Above a lake without words.
Black necks of Canada Geese jab
In the mulch of November’s leftovers.
Warning signs abound.
The book is my gun
And I am on the run,
A fugitive from knowledge.
A branch groping for the icy water,
Searching for meaning
Where there is none.