Along A Weir-side Way

How slow the snake uncoiling
On weird cerebral lawns,
Grips those moles now grieving
And how the wagtail mourns;
Feet of gruesome coots are blue,
Uprooted and reborn.

His weir-side way gave us today –
Barbed our briar impressions;
His river’s course, unnatural,
Fallacies abounding wherever
Escapes briefly water or weather.
Too late the discourse and the dawn;
Too late misplaced starlings imitate
A feather’s fate forlorn.

A garden in his stomach then,
His bowels behold the bones:
Where self-conceited owls will plot
Their death, I walk the weir alone.

Everybody Got What They Needed From Me (Except Me)

My counsellor said, exasperatedly,
That title is a generalisation
And that I am susceptible to exaggeration.
I said, this is how I feel.
The remaining appointments did not go so well.

On a village green a well ran dry,
And at the nearby cricket pitch
The yearlong deluge washed away
Protests more and more obscene
Chalked on a scoreboard by
Openers for a disgruntled team
Still wearing pads beneath their knees.
Villagers gathered under umbrellas
Scratching their waxy heads
With unusual visages weathered
And perplexed, looked up
To all redoubtable heavens,
Misunderstanding how so much rain
Could fall on something terribly and
Relatively minuscule as a
County bore with bucket,
As if a curse for colonising
The sands and surf of far
Nehantucket, by forgotten
And foolhardy ancestors
All those centuries, long ago.

So Long The Ceasefire

My head is a bread bin
Without any bread,
Where loaves were stored
Mould’s sprawling instead.

My body a trawler
With no herring for kippers;
Caught by a storm,
Overboard skippers,
Returning to port
With no smoke for a dinner.

My soul a cathedral
Burned for a cause,
So long the ceasefire,
Bombs did not pause.

Finally, my mind has vacated,
My body, and my will;
Standing at a bus stop crying,
Placated by the thrill.

Origins

A basking shark
Swallowed whole
A water horse;
When its stomata exploded
Time fell out, followed
By remains of fish
And juvenile squid,
Car tyre parts,
A severed head,
A battery charge,
Semi-digested,
Later became
Inspiration
For several
Famous inventors
And letters for my name
Amid fingertips
And foam fermented,
Bones in oaths
Cemented
Not far from a coastal path.

A dead shepherdess
Squatting upright in a nest
Portended through
An eyeless dream
That basking shark’s unrest.

I came to this coast
Two years ago,
Not for the amusements
Or the beachy sands,
But to search
Amid the dune grasses
And mollusc graves
And collect,
Searching
And foraging
If nothing more
Than to forget.

Rain on red sand
Ignites all the land.
I have a false memory
Of you holding my hand
As the dawn sun grew
In slow confidence,
Fanning out over
Marshes, fields
And settlements,
And once more
We began.

Halcyon

Is there any fabled,
Unfathomable existence
More at one
With homely surroundings
Than fish flowing through
A river, gills and mouth
And fisher-spirits open
To planetary potentates
And every heavenly potential
Imbued in bluebottle djinn
And a sleeping
Grasshopper’s eye,
Under clear midnight skies,
A billion stars,
Spleen and queenly heart
And inner canals
Microcosms
Of wishful organisms
Larger and lesser
And dimmer
By far.

A kingfisher dreamt this,
Years ago,
Near coastal roads
In Zanzibar.


You Cannot Lose What You Have Not Got


I doubt my English citizenry,
(Minnow-country flapping

Like a long-since iridescent
Fish now ugly out of water,

On a rock, eyes diseased –
Opercula, and withered fins) –

Would neither blink
Nor care very much

If all our Earth did disappear –
Swallowed up

In a Black Hole’s epiglottis –
All skies and song,

Joyful, infinite nature,
Rhinoceros to a missel-thrush

All lost,
Souls too, with veins made

By rains and rare precious metals,
Just as long as there’s power enough

During regurgitated
Commercial breaks

To re-fill ferried kettles.

Polyphemus

Bareback-riding blue whale stars,
Stirrups smelted fishing scars,
In his grip, sea-scimitars,
Poseidon’s hooves in necklace jars.

Poseidon’s blood his tattoo-paint
Across his nose and briny face,
Proteus blind, a drowning saint,
These brutish oceans will embrace.

Reins abrasive, totems clutched,
Trident eyes tell of a place
Where skin’s by sun so rarely touched,
Where islands sank without a trace.

Ngurrumugu Ganbi

Adolescent kangaroo,
Outgrown mother’s pouch,
Pack of dingoes in pursuit,
His gawky form falls out –
Upside down, furry snout.

A wilderness deserts him,
Blind to why, though atavistic
Legs might kick, defensive surge,
Unprotective mobs disperse;
Understorey blending blood
With senna and sun-soaked gorse.

Fugitives found a fleeting feast.
Did you only exist –
Immaturity barely behind you –
So you could fix
The minds of beasts.


N.B In the Guugu Yimithirr language ngurrumugu ganbi translates as ‘kangaroo blood’.