March

The decaying fabric of everyday life,
Anarchy is never more than six feet away;
If I ever felt safe behind my own wall
I will visit again those who had nothing at all.
The salmon started swimming a different way,
I felt their magnets in my heart;
The statues of lions would tear me apart
If not preoccupied queuing for bronze.
I followed a ferrous stream to where it began,
Agitpropists on a Parisienne lawn,
There’s nothing like a contagion
For dispersing my personal
Mouvement des Gilets Jaunes.
In a former Time, statisticians reported
That we were not more than six feet away
From a bubonic-plague-incubating rat,
But now I expect it is a little less than that.
I toured the empty boulevards
Where literature once ferried me,
March has nothing left to give
When only two people with a banner meet.
Centuries before, children chimed
“A penny for the guy”
To commemorate the dismemberment
Of a terrorist captured under Parliament;
His quarters sent to the empire’s corners,
Now in their barrows they push without custom
A white cross on a shaved cat’s stomach,
While a plasticised ivy grows through the cellars.

Countryside Scylla

She wore clothes in the country way,
Waxy coat with stoat-skin underlay,
Cottonopolis cloth in Wellington boots
Appearing behind the hawthorn roots.
This landed lady lost two of her dogs
Somewhere beyond the dream-line fogs,
My task to pursue both near and far,
I could not see her Isabella fur-hidden scar.
Traversing hills and greenfinch lanes
I searched through snow and seven rains,
Crossing torrents, the Fells in spate,
All memories she would eradicate,
Until I crossed a last long moor
And found the exhausted Labrador
Alongside a shadowing Sheltie.
I returned to my love bareback on a Kelpie,
Imagined rewards, her embrace and her kiss,
But I had wandered far from such bliss,
For her head had since turned a form of darker:
A country lady’s body bound to an Ovcharka.

Green Box

In this Age of Self
A season is sold as Forever,
And newness is on the Eternal Shelf
If we afford the commercial endeavour.
There are no sporting journalists
Sadly in a pandemic,
Soon to be joined by financiers
Leaving morticians and the medics.
The ad stats are not too clever:
Seventy-five and a third respondents
Said the shampoo made a difference;
Whoever saw a third of a woman
Other than magicians?
There are body bags in ice rinks,
Palacio de Helio is straining
Yet my neighbour is complaining
Of garden waste collections paused.
In Antofagasta it is raining,
Air pollution dissipating,
Crime levels are abating,
All my footprints once had caused.

Orbits

There is less pressure to exert
Determined course of Moon and Earth
Than tour the chambers of my heart.

Untranslatable runes are deeply painted,
Where those who desecrate the sainted
Read aloud: ‘to strive without arrival’

And ‘here he sought and here he yearned’.
I closed my mouth, the world did turn;
One did fade, for the other’s survival.

Six Across

A crossword life, words unfilled,
The sound of bagpipes is a skirl,
Primrose curves and daffodil.

The clew between my fingers fell,
Dead-ends deathly, I knew well,
These limits of a four-lined shell.

I stood at junctions, 6 Across,
Wished for stars but kindling loss,
Lichen-hair and eyes of moss.

Everyone has a daily circuit,
Cryptic, Quick, Acrostic surfeit;
A Bannock Fluke is Scot for turbot.

The queen bought with a rationing token
Her wedding dress, all silks bespoken;
Twelve down ends with my heart broken.

Argosy

Bootleggers, bandits, floggers and touts,
Bedlam bankrolls crime which sprouts
And flushes fulsome flouters out.

Those entrepreneurs earning
From public grief and yearning;
No one in a grave is turning.

There is a reality discrete
Where with humanity we will meet;
I’ll prepare the argosy fleet

And see you there on Sunday.
The looters’ lot we will repay,
Kindness diverts the Doomsday.