Wyver-Fish

Netting silver wyver-fish
In a wyvern stream,
Through Malvern Hills and
Mendips, on to Glastonbury.

Her comet’s tail is halcyon,
At river’s end serene;
Salmon’s grey, come what may,
She flew above the dene.

When I woke in Maundy thirst
My palms were bare and old;
The wyver-fish had flown away,
A photograph is cold.

Immolation

I set my soul on fire,
Alive on a pyre of
Dry hyacinths and
Sad gladioli dreams,
A blind man’s
Sandals, and shoes
Without seams.
By a scruff
Of the neck my flames
Took hold of and wholly
Captured that beach,
Held up like a brace
Of heaven’s partridges
With only a tidemark
A cause for retreat.

A scandal for a year or two
And then the villagers
And media and cartels
Will sleep. We are all
Victims, one way or
Another, of sins.
A distant windmill withers.
In a dream sunk
Within a different dream
Your hand came out
Of my mouth like a tongue,
Like a mythical petrified snake
From a deep sunless cave
And for the first and only time
I was made complete.

On The Banks Of The Pripyat River

That Galatian draper
Of parthenogenetic
Golden grapes
And apples of sapphire,
Oceans of lapis lazuli
Divined in her eyes
The mother of Aphrodite,
Born from waters high
Beyond heaven,
The tortuous waters
In stellar torrents
From braided brushed hair
In plaits which cascaded
Like Venezuelan or blushed Kenyan Falls
Down the hellebore back of
Our great Goddess Gaia,
With a samphire-scented brace
The ancients traced to their doom
In primordial hazelnuts festooned
About her neck, and seven
Phoenix eggs a grandson
Stowed from Yemen,
Born from fragrant desire
In such fecundity, such abundance
With celestial semblances
Impressioned in seven arches
Of her firmament above me,
Sufficient for holding up heaven,
With new advances in
Seminal-fermenting broth
Resolved in a garland of yawns
And languorous delicate touch
To spare her first-born’s tubers,
And so with a delicate cough
Which paradoxically would snuff out a
Kindred thickness of stars
By their redundant, hapless wicks,
(And from where pinnate-plants
Bore the name of Cosmos
In their penance),
Expunge black holes,
Drain oceans from skies
With catholicised taste,
Poured her boy’s illness from a
Terracotta urn
To secure his safe arrival
From shores of the leprosy-coast,
There he had sojourned with all those lame
And all those made infirm by wars
And misadventures; and their survival
The entertainment for their progeny,
There are two things we have observed
About the foibles of men
And their disciples –
Firstly, that they never learn,
And secondly their egos are
By nature never sated,
And they always get
What they deserve
From the immortal populous
Of Nemesis and Comeuppance,
And the Goddess of Depreciation
Turned to me and lifted
A curtain of dawn choruses
And spoke with thelytokous words
She counted three;
I have no enmity with truth
And far be it for me to displease
A Goddess with a neck and depths of
Merriment and pleasure that,
If She chose, She could make a man
Immortal, although she pledged instead
To deny this atavistic talent.

And so this is why men existed,
Unfathomable predilections
Became a habit, and the cloak
Of the floating planets unwound
The charred distress, the ancient
Razing of rivers and forests,
All to preserve the life blood
Of her son with pleurisy
And tuberculin
As wide as the winter in Chernobyl.



Marginal

I walked through a wall of existence,
Still breathing, still believing;
Brickwork little resistance;
I caught myself in a mirror,
Where the new tide goes out
A sea-tongued oppressor returns
To burn the littoral villages,
(All the villagers succumbed to flesh or fled),
Terrorises forgotten margins
By a finest thread, then departed.
The sea is in my stomach,
Within the acidic ripples
Briny anatomic micro-organisms
Breathe and live and cling
Like bivalve molluscs
Balanced on an edge
And I am the ballast
Between life and death.
These unseen beings which cling to me,
Surface only to surf on waves which begin
With servitude to this nude existence,
Yes, beyond the ellipse and bells
Of life and of death,
Where everything we give
Is received by an unrivalled sea,
Effortless are the divinities in
This efficacy, these elegies
Where the sea says her prayers
With whitecap-rosaries,
Seaweed petals and confetti of squid,
Their ink so black it could forge a night
And blind these biting gods,
Ravenous on the rocks of their follies.

Lady In The Lake

Observe that certain beauty
In the dying light,
And though the signage
Read ‘Beware’,
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,
Ripple-effects reverted,
Silent as a corpse.


Minotaurus

Grab the bull by the horns
He suggested, as if this
Is something diurnal and
Straightforward, as though I
Lived with the inventive
Umayyad Caliph of Cordoba,
Or am I Pasiphaë’s consort,
Or, worse, Telephassa’s daughter
Taming the many-headed lusts
Of Zeus which left her grieving
Parents distraught and devoid
Of laughter as long as their
Unenviable lives uncoiled, on
Carthaginian shorelines, just
Like the parents of Meredith
Of Kent, and Georgia.

Moreover, I am easily misled,
And being a novice it threw
Me off, once, twice, twenty
Seven times and stamped its
Great and disdainful hooves
And mauled me as if I might
Be worthy of plague and smite,
With deliberate aforethought,
Until you could no longer tell
What was my pallid skin
And what were contusions,
And that, more or less,
(As I lay in muddy pools
Molten with my blood unspooled)
Resembled the rest of my life.

Ekcha Rubdizô

Layers upon layers
Like sedimentary strata,
Then all of a sudden
We find ourselves
Out of reach of the arms
Of those who crafted with
Sandstone and chalk;
This is just my example.

We set sail with deliberations
Exempt from sense for
The infamous whirlpool,
Regardless of rumours,
Regardless of her
Layers upon layers
Of teeth with limpets bleeding,
Emboldened by newness
Of youth and cordite
Stored in wooden tubes,
The viewer and the viewed,
We preached to the priests
Who refused to immolate
A sheep with swallowed rue.

An inverse plume
Of drowning hues,
There are no songs there,
No shanties; no grebes
Or aquiline sea-portents;
Our waterlogged thoughts
Are dissolved of fantasies
And Poseidonic prayers
That enriched our years
In tireme training
Like flares lighting up
Underwater caverns
And lantern-thoughts
Iridescent as herring
In the cranial Mediterranean
Crevasses of monk-seals,
Dreaming on their rocks
Of squid and of molluscs.

I pulled the plug
And a whirlpool vortex
Of washing-up water
Rejoined a greater creation.
Oleaginous bubbles
Swelled like the fur on the back
Of the duck-hunting dog
Bred for swimming,
Or like the cumulonimbus
Over the fens, heralding
Mid-spring rains soon,
And I knew then from the patterns
Bled through my pen,
And through those clouds shaped like
Three hearts in a cuttlefish exhumed,
The certainty of storms by noon.