Herakles Of Antikythera

In all probability
Such acts of importunity
Would go unnoticed;
Artists’ strokes still pondered
Under rising sands,
Poets who wrote with much-devoted wonder;
Murmurations from ancient loves
A league beneath a perma-land.

Forebearers’ genres costed now,
Ashes pack a summerhouse,
Berries bluesy caterwaul,
What did we know of here at all?
They dredged his head, encrusted prow,
Entrusted to blind seabed sows,
A bludgeoned god dislodged himself,
To find his home on a pastor’s shelf.

Wreaking

I hope my deadening soul
Wreaks havoc on them all,
I wrote then to my shogun.

He replied, may I surmise
That life is for the living?
I disputed his wisdom,
And held my breath in my hands,
And spoke alone without reply
That I am unforgiving.

My forehead is a wintry beach;
Slower than a ghost proposed,
Boat-bells sombre in the fleet.

When battalions disembark nearby,
Enfranchised and embittered,
They won’t disturb the dreaming folk
While scarring Hope with scissors.

A single cuttlefish appeared in blue,
I stared into her inky liver,
Then just as sharply darted by,
Bloodied and barely delivered.

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.

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.