Marshland Road

Eventually,
Those marshy roads
You pleasantly drove
On Sunday morning
Overloads,
Beyond skeletons made
From fenny pheasants
Ancient and less clawed
By toothless crows
O wide-eyed
Skies below,
Circus tents
And badger’s nose,
Swingbridge blues,
A bull to doze,
Will be essentially
As archaic and unexplained
As brittle canopic jars
Buried under
Tessaraed mosaics
And unidentifiable
Canine remains
In the tomb of
Amenhotep,
Second Pharoah,
A God aflame afloat.

Blind Chaffinch

Such nimble, quicker artistry,
Electric in their chemistry;
Fleet-footed, twig throne-seated,
In awe of more than fourteen free;
Chiding, momentarily;
Mocking and most formidably
Locking braiding jaws and beaks
Like dank dim horns
Sub-knuckerholes,
(Only these were forged
For popping seeds);
Then, confiding in their trembling,
Under withered-wimpled leaves
And snowdrop cloaks,
Within a cloister weighted-down
By later morning apogees;
Exuberant rain-dance chatter
With ancient unsolved dialects;
Newly found, this youthfulness
Could put all suffering, hubris
And pedantry
To bed.

A run on pumps,
Bleak the river bends.
I can hear the notes
But cannot see
Something so obvious
Ending just in front of me.

Samphire Coast

I was made, long ago,
Stirred in a broth
Of pigeon legs
And prisoner bones,
To carry on my back
Weighted packs
Of ingredients tossed
In plastic entrapments;
A jar of pain, like star anise,
Hurt, like saffron,
And for loss, lovage,
Samphire coastlines
And a bay leaf
Or two spared from a frost.
I make my payments in salt,
Mostly, though sometimes
Also in a love that’s lost;
How easy it seems
To touch the golds of this
Inadequate ductile god.
All this explains why
I peddle the boards
With eternal spinal loads,
And why I am magnetised
To saddest folk songs only;
Miasmic mallow the marsh –
A spacious, sacred place
To autograph my heart.

Jāta

Evolution is testing me;
Her step-sister, Society
Arrested me, complicity.

Canal side paths I cannot walk,
An ancient pump disused
Within a bruising of hedgerows;
My gaumy brain encrusted
With tawny bone and moss.

Deep within me,
Peaty bogs, a cairn stone
Beside a waterfall’s spooling locks
Where thoughts swirl in a pool,
Froth, and only downstream still.

Tell them, tell all the kilted boors
When their universal chores are done
And the last absconders have gone
That I rejected it all.

Letters

My singular
Vital sign
For I am alive
Is poetry;
Modes and codes
And odysseys;
Odes pulsing
Through my
Malodorous veins
I did not arraign,
And perpetrating
Nevertheless
My entire body,
Despite the crime,
Despite the trial,
Aortic verbal canals;
I see myself on a gallow,
Letters drip from
My incontestable teeth
Through to a rubric,
Through to this
Indestructible
Woodland stream.

For that, in my dreams,
To all intents and purposes,
Is how the robin dyed
His breast in reds,
And how nemesis
Accounted, yes,
For a very baffled hubris.