Song Of The Sand

A grain of sand I did not own,
On a beach I did not know,
I kindled in my hand like sticks
Until it turned to blood and stone.
From stones there scattered
Seven pebbles, seven roots
Within the middle, and
From those roots did climb a devil;
And I did see there shoots of growth,
Of Time Above, and Life Below.

Skulldugerry and his mistress,
I have seen foul play;
A body in a brazier,
A human with no name.
They brushed their hair,
They drove to work,
Wedding planners,
Dividend perks;
We can only feel rain falling
When our eyes are blind as worms.

A bison-shaped cloud shifting
Dispersed the holiday crowds;
I was alone on the beach again
Wishing to breathe new life
Somehow, yes, through my hands,
But all that remained was the loss
Of the waves, and song of the sand.

Tuleilat el Anab

Coming up for air,
Beads of sweat
Under the partings of
Our Bedouin-braided hair,
We engorged on the maps
And the keys of each other,
We talked of exploring
Petra, shimmering
Like a mirage within
The sacred heart of
A well-preserved miracle
Of treasuries and temples.

When we descended from
The Aqaba governate and
Its tributaries of sand,
We paused at her
Long-abandoned
Nymphaeum where
The Nabataeans drank
Thirstily, mid-summer;
The guide-book we shared read:
“Desert life requires
The efficient management
Of water and resources”.
Nevertheless, you swam
In the four-chasmed
Sandstone stomachs
Of my desire for you
And triumphed, for
You defended me
From the Horus-headed
Sovereign of Bricklayers’
Allegiance with Herod
And flooded me with
Nutrients fit for
Training vines
And farming livestock.

In these respects you saved me,
Giving something of yourself
Until, punctured by this love,
We exhaled and felt deflated,
As compelled like every other
Omen-focused resident
To work, to earn
Something as blessed
As a night uninterrupted,
Every one of us here
Must eventually let go of something;
There is nothing more essential,
Nor necessary, nor vital
Than the essence of a moment,
And so we deserted the hours
Of indolence we would have
Shared replenishing
The waters of that
Decorated fountain
In a sun-drenched town square,
In a different state of wonder.

Bluebird Ballad

Through this time of catastrophes
And near misses,
The Tower Of Winds and Hypotheses
Would measure your kisses
As Cyrillic keys pressed
Like notes from a typist,
Pinned to a wall
In a traveller’s room
From Budapest to Athens.
We absorb each other
In dissimilar ways,
The weather-vane spins
With bluebirds in rain;
Possessive apostrophes misused,
A crack in the bath,
A lack of sleep and
An aftermath in blue;
Every village has its limits.

Strange to consider then
How we are the same
As when many months of the Moon retraced
Lands me lost in a Saturday
When I bought your book,
Your anthology, that’s still
I confess, not fully read
Nor, I confess again, much understood,
But the passion and the act
Of guerillas uprising through verse
Had me infatuated.
Same eyes, yes, same hair,
Same faultlines from a post-war flare,
Standing on the self-same spot
More or less in Cambridgeshire
As if the bookseller’s plot
And my unmade bed
Are layers in blue
Of the High Poetess, on her
Alter cloth and within her dress.

If a curse made the earth
The size of a grain,
The universe inversely would shrink again
To the size of the inhabited planet,
Before from the massive mass it sinks.
If I carry my chances in marginal atoms
Why does my heart still roam untamed?
Reunite us on the beach
Held together with words and speech,
Type a letter of love to reach
Beyond the sands of time and graves.