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I thought his sword rescinded,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.


Book Of Kells

Icicles thawed on a windowsill
While snow fell freely around,
Sometimes softening skies are colder
Than six feet under ground.
Powder the keg with winter,
The dampened light has dried;
This is a song from a hinterland
Where once a curlew cried.

I am not for haunting,
We walk with heads bowed down,
Snowfall is resounding,
Church bells not long silent,
Insular majuscule art.

Pawprints In Snow

Snowfall,
Incorruptible,
Unpreventable
Flurries in melodies
Of white so composed.
I have no further claim
To a snowdrop’s name,
In damson-greys
A pre-dawn light,
For the sight of your
Unfolding
Spindling
Quintessence
Is the same feeling inside
The Roman frontiersman
With bones and sinew of ice
And the kindling world
Which is capricious when it comes
To obsolescence,
And her calcified husband
Have ever since felt
Under sandals
And Mercury’s frozen brogues
Also in caducean whiteness.
Bald white, furrows of white,
Cathedrals of trees
And choirs of sprites,
Unfurling burrs of fern-fronds
Have their cowls bowed down
In homage to such heathen genius
Of seasons long lost;
Icicles for arms,
A tetrahedral white,
And penuries of frost.

All things start with love,
For much like the snow
There are hundreds of words.
A crust of slush-smothered snow
Collapses from a rusty Lada’s
Rear window.
Snowfall, a sky-bound
Unicorn’s fleece untossed
Onto holly, and spiraea,
Mint and sage and mosses;
Chicken-wire befuddled and bent
In the shapes of dead clementine drunks
Observed from Moscow
Across to the Khanate of Kazan
Guarding crystal-lined Urals,
From St Petersburg to
The opulent gems of Tashkent,
The meanderings of memory,
A time that roared and went
Into spent exhaustions of
The walkable Volga.
Pawprints and clawprints,
Adipose and strange,
A chasing of tails,
A lifetime spent in shadows
Yet adamant for this existence
Did happen,
Did take place,
Much like a thought
In the cavernous yawns of today,
From where fell one or two fathoms
Destined to thaw, retreat
Down a chasm’s wake,
A singular, ever-unique
Snowflake.

Forest Lodge

The past is a lonely huntsman
Walking on shards of ice,
Those sharper endings present,
How winter ways entice.

I found a dampening cabin
Beyond that gated path;
I couldn’t explain what happened;
I could not find a start.

But whatever you might imagine,
The truth would bruise your heart,
The curtains dank in ambers,
Shelves all empty and dark.

A sign above the doorway,
Inscriptions fading in moss,
I read my name spelt backwards
And woke into my loss.

Aphelion

Snow falling on the sea,
I noticed how snowflakes floated awhile
And then we disappeared.

Somewhere out there is Sun,
But sunlight is not for everyone
Down here.

The lathered cabesters returning
And a chacking huer’s thirsty
As he conducts the fairmaids home.

How beautiful the ocean
If only from a skiff,
How beautiful the drop

If only from a cliff,
How beautiful the missing
If only we may live.

Somewhere out there is Moon;
Aphelion wilderness
With a little less gloom.

N.B Lathered, Cabester, Chacking and Huer are words from Cornish dialect. Fairmades or Fairmaids is an old Cornish word for pilchards.

Lake Of The Woods

What was the time in Ottawa
When that boy ran full pelt
Towards a delapidated pier upon

An icy lake to make his shape
Where conifers colluded
And memory occluded

This day, it once occurred.
Plenty (or was it a few) anglers
In lumberjack furs

Dangling their lines
In holes through snow
As they blow in their hands

And distances blur
Between water and skies
For hope of a bite

Oblivious to that parabolic
Arc of his last jump, his leap,
Neap tide, a void of pride,

The police had never been so far
From the scene of his crime,
But you can’t pursue spirit

With a Horseman in Time.
Something, always, is lost
Between the old and the new,

Between a thought in sheets
And all written words, Love.
One day I’ll remember this,

Sipping my oxtail soup,
Inconvenience, true,
Tired, yes, and mute.