Darjeeling

To effect great personal change
All the tools I will ever need
Are stored somewhere deep in me;
Through a door, over the sea,
Buddha silently spoke in a dream.

Yet on this short day long
I feel so tired from searching,
I will settle instead,
With every respect,
For a cup of fresh Darjeeling.

The Hawser-Husband’s Song

All seafaring folk
Reasonably discharged
Understand deeply 
Having travelled so far
Frequencies of rope;
Clews marking time,
Demarcating fate
Like crow-wrinkles carved
In a late man's hope,
Smiling sublimely
While his body bloats
And slowly floats away
Within a curlew's ode;
They count in knots,
They measure briny-time
With bights on the lee,
And sometimes by 
Their cat-beards' growth
Upon a beaming sea.

There are far more purposes
For well-made ropes
Than horse-dreams harboured
On wayward western slopes
Of blue infusing hollyhocks
And sadnesses of heliotropes.
Beyond those voyer-headland folk,
Such a balch-length I do know
Is coldly devoid
In a dead man's grope,
Unfeeling, careening, 
So from humanity we eloped.
Her colours change as suddenly
On a breeze as the piskey-cheeks
Of whiskey-infused 
And maudlin mopes
Who sit beside the steps
At the plentiful village pump,
Sometimes straight as a butter-cross
And sometimes they do slump;
One day as grey as a bassam,
The next day graily eggy-hot
And bald as a wreaking coven.

Knowledge of how to fashion
This mission's cabled spires
Is memorised by barning-ghosts
Under varying fires;
The future slips through
Their misty furtive fingertips,
Fewer than before
Their green immortality.
Sailing some more,
Nothing abounds;
Within our creel ribs
Old myths rebound,
Waves make landfall
Permanent and yet somehow
Without existing at all.
Breathing in
And breathing out,
Hessian fodder,
Oceanic Frisian cow,
Horizon unknown
For years from now,
On slowly floating ice-breaks
My vessel is aground.



N.B Cornish dialect in this poem includes:
Balch - a rope
Barning - phosphorescence
Bassam - a bruise
Eggy-hot - a warm beer
Graily - an aged beer
Piskey - drunk
Varying - lightning, St Elmo's Fire
Voyer - a headland

My Beard

This beard tells me
I will effect change,
I will outlast
For I now recall how
I was told myriad times
As a frightened child
By the bullies and the doubters
And weird interlopers
That I would never make it so far
As to be something of the man.

Yet here I am still;
Wide-eyed, narrow exposure,
I grew up believing the wolf alarms
Long after my peers had departed
For work and wives while I remained
Faint-hearted. Some said
My heart was not for restarting,
That I would not last until the morning,
And although my hand is sometimes
Shaking uncontrollably,
And although I cannot do so much
That all the others do so well,
My beard in the morning-room mirror
Through blind grit and bare graft
Tells me I am alive in daylight-bells,
My beard tells me, irrevocably,
That without the silent breaking
There is little point in a spell.

Just Surviving

I live within an illness
No one else can see;
Neither lesions blue
Nor bruises true,
My disfiguring ivy climbs
More deadly underneath.
I slowly bore witness;
How people retreated
From the bleeding
And the peeling –
Their movements
Are much the same today
Away from me, a routine
Diminishing mirror image,
They could evaporate
The bones in my heart,
These exsanguinated shadows,
My leprosy made apparent
In the parabolas of my
Homeless dome,
Emerging beneath my bare Enola,
Arms outstretched,
Not one person to hold.

The world is lacking outrage now.
I know why my father lied
When he said I had no business
In being a father myself.
Feather in his cap,
Imagination leaks,
My fear is only from not knowing
The difference between my loneliness
And my outgoing dreams.

Washing Up

This strange, unusual place,
How will I ever reconcile
Or indeed escape
From stories they have painted
On the walls of my four caves.
Great tales of sabotage,
I trace a sodden lineage along
Dark ribs in the cobwebby palace
Of a bloated, long-dead whale.

I miss any such season
I am not within;
Endless losses to ego,
I can wage war on myself
Yet hide from my own shadows.
I thought about you briefly
As I washed up clean plates again.
Not so much a memory now,
More electrolytes and impulses,
I slalom life’s whitening streams
And dream of reaching a pool
Or a lake of immeasurable peace.

I know that you want me to be like you.
It would satisfy you, to see me fail again.
You pushed me from your soul-belfry,
Then pealed the burnishing bells
In something akin to horror.

When I have finally conquered my self
Belatedly, too late a Pyrrhic victory,
Will my body arraigned be laid to rest
On that old man’s dusty shelf,
Just until the next unknowable rain.

Kalaallit Nunaat

On a glacier peak in Greenland
Landfall felt unfortunate rain.
Unnatural, wrathful kiss,
I dreamt of this;
Firstly, as an ornament,
Then adulthood the same.

Pacific atoll,
Bliss of cooling fish,
These skimming stones
Evaporated into sky.
I know why the hourglass turns;
For a wrongful man we burned,
Wearing a suit and a tie.

See: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/20/rain-falls-peak-greenland-ice-cap-first-time-on-record-climate-crisis

Bled Out

I am envious here
Of people in tiniest
Terraced houses,
The bald sweaty farmers
And all the brief spiders
Delighting in
Their whitening,
These workers in spinning
Peripheries of forests
Where greens speak
Privately, some merge
Silently, and where
Motorcars plucked pheasants
From trajectories
More skywardly,
Now turning berserkly
In the ferny flushing
Of their fibres, I passed
Carcasses of some
While others
Jerked and spluttered;
Even here, I know envy,
Walking by,
I am a dying light
Within a zoetrope
And these narrow doors
And rotting windows
Float by like embers
Before the lightning,
And I come to realise
Through my own signage,
Through my own bones
And fingers
The bare river,
The influx from cities
With their hardening
Inflexions
And battery acid
Vernacular
That I am envious
Not of bricks
And mortar,
Not of the movers
And removers,
Nor my life stymied
By neither my fear
Of creativity
Nor failure,
But instead
Of my own childhood.

Kings

If we were kings
I would have lain
Wasted all this time
In the eternal sleep,
A fraid, stale garland
Within my loosened clutch
About to fall off
To where reason
Regicidists reaped.

Purged frail teeth,
Patternless slate cleaned,
Dragon-slain
Dependencies.
A stained glass window
Up above me, high,
Someone stole the colours
Reflected in my hollow eye.

Time’s grating ivory claws –
Instead of thorns, ivy,
Yellow bruises
On my forearms,
In front of my upturned feet
Their ruptures freshly paved
With fallacies.