We’re North and South together,
Where East meets skies out West,
Where one devours the other,
Then sleeps within our chest.
We’re swamp-surrounded temples,
Six seasons sought defeat;
The vines our veins resemble,
Our ivy leaves complete.
We’re secret treasures guarded
By codes within a rhyme,
A compass shape is hearted,
A clock devoid of time.
An exquisiteness outdoors.
Sometimes, monsoons pause.
A single stray cheek hair;
Penetration was not sought,
Yet you’ve chosen to.
Giant bathroom crane-fly,
Brittle exquisite thing, here
Because I caught you.
Large dark clouds scurry,
Harbingers of change, through rains,
I’d return with you.
Even summer in this place,
Even sleet in June.
Ice on the path of my glass.
Snow soaked on your scarf.
I could not express
Impressions of that summer
You left, until now.
It’s been a year, yet,
Fleeting precious moth returns.
I turn off my light.
The outside world thins,
As still as a painting,
A ceiling fan is spilling secrets
From daylight’s detectives,
Who pursuing will strive
To arrest and detain
The tails of life
Much like priests
But without overpayment,
And never successful.
The torsos of sinners
And chess for beginners,
Sweat drips on to a bishop,
Diagonal moves and although
The air is thinner
A nation exhales
Over mythic travails
With flags and balloons
And bunting, but I am not one
For hunting the hart of the past
To splay its bludgeoned carcass over
A diminishing present.
Cigarette-end days, hot ashes,
Swimming pool bans and
Dead roadside pheasants;
Trays of unaddressed fears unstamped;
An empty, drowsy watering can,
It’s years since I made resolutions
Because I do not trust myself
To keep their sacred seedlings safe,
And I do not trust dogma or customs;
The politicians appear like
Ice cream vendors on television
Though broadcasters would have us think
That more believable are the men
Wearing patriotic ties.
Oxygen contracts like a dowager’s eye,
And if I am not mistaken
I’m waiting for havens
Of winter again.
Slightly shorter and undernourished,
Those seasonal times of year
When stationery sales long-lost flourished
And the oldest emotions appear.
A leather satchel handed down,
Holes and fraying handles;
A seismic shame my teachers found,
Reborn each day, self-vandalised;
I did not want the uniform,
I did not wear the sandals.
She kissed me in her morning-gown
As I stepped down from her seventh home,
(The dreaming-house they since demolished),
Without grasping who she was
Or whether she had abolished
Surnames and all that was stable.
Alphabets abounded then
And prayers preparing for Heaven;
Algorithms, and Boolean logic.
They said my head was in the clouds,
They said there is another puddle forming,
Beneath the desk, or sometimes a table.
No one read my later reports,
In their haste they emptied the office.
We escaped on our lunch breaks
To braid a chain of daisies in a garland;
Abroad, the battalions expounded.
I searched for non-existent patterns,
There was only the fray of the day;
Its textures took September hostage
And advanced into me this way.
All the decaying roots are buried,
The meadows abandoned in disarray;
In a fairy-forest, north of the border,
They recovered my head from a disused well,
For I never did find a better heavenly spell,
That day we unearthed a daffodil.
Sat beneath blossom,
The traveller watched petals
Fall into his thoughts
Money made the world
Go round, but what happens when
The money runs out.
Pigeons courting dance,
Unabashed roof-top ritual.
We meet with April.
Midriff mildew stings
A hair-foot giant flower bee;
Seven counties in her wings,
Nests in embers we foresee.
A female blackbird black won’t give,
We trapped her willow wanderings;
She stole the roads, the pheasants live,
When murders end, so too detectives.
A company of wigeons
Fed seeds beside the streams,
Wreaked havoc on decisions,
Commuting coughs in web-foot dreams.
In the river there lived a spirit,
A translucent Naiad, butter-blue,
Now the water she will not visit,
Her body turned to wood for fuel.
There is no taking from nature
Without nature keeping track;
Wild boars will measure the failure
When they bring the forests back.
The title is taken from a Chinese expression, “to shake the tree and feel the wasp sting”, written as: