Death Of An Obsessive (Twelfth Sonnet)

Lunch after Sunday, a walk with our dogs,
Over stiles clambered, some lumberjacked logs,
Through cowpatted herd-fields, a traced rabbit path,
And beyond the axe-pond where sometimes we’d bath,
To find that cottage, abandoned and dark,
From lintel and jambs hanged swallow and lark;
Roofs sunk to woodworm, gnawed holes from the rot,
A cracked window showed the home of a sot.
Children had played on the rosebay-raped swards,
Supper’s at seven, your heels on the boards;
White linen’s fresh, pegged to washing lines sang,
Before words turned beneath ivy to slang.
These losses framed by a mind’s fatal breath;
An airbag inflated, scene of a death.

Song Of Sorrows

An elderly woman from the well
Expanded songs within a pail,
Through the southern snow-bound spell
Songs of thrush and songs of snail.

I’ve never seen a silver cloud,
Only grey or golden,
A longer furrow’s better ploughed
If beliefs are less beholden

Than the love you feel.
Wine is thicker than blood which heals;
Break butterflies on a Catherine wheel
And luncheon-loaves will turn to eels.

With these words she repeated
And gravely villagers gave her thanks,
She dragged the Sun and had well-heated
Copper pipes and mouldy tanks.

The lady gave me her dodmen
And bid me fill the urn,
I travelled from Beccles to Bodmin
But nothing could I learn,

For the pail was lined with silver,
Filled with clouds like coal,
Her songs leaked out, customs bewildered;
I had not sealed the sorrow-hole.