Pareidolia

Pelagic frogfish
In the sky,
Captured by a satellite.

Religious icons are
Baptised
In bathroom tiles.

Cumulonimbus heights
Before a storm
Transformed to toads

And turtledoves
High above
The dreams of love

I found in your words,
As comforting to me as
Waves on the coast,

The sound and scent
Of my homeland.
Have I learnt nothing,

For I yearned to return
To your love, but all
I find beachcombing

On the edge of the ocean,
My sand-swept existence,
Though frantically I search,

Are flotsam thoughts,
Are the rusting returns
Of briny whelks on the keel

Of a boat, a vessel battered
By strife and winds and surf,
Messageless bottles,

A raucousness of seagulls
Being seagulls,
Conches and shells

In the foams
Of the moment
Seem like conches and shells;

The waves resurface
Their childish driftwood gifts
Offered up at my feet,

How the mind plays tricks
On a desolate beach
To rekindle itself.

Chirapsia

I massaged your back,
And the shorelines of my hands
Reached pebbles shaped like
Hearts, smooth and
As timeless as arts
Of bread-making in Assyria,
Where your aunts
Tandoor-baked Lawasha,
A delicate knead
Under knuckles ringed with
Garnets and wrinkles;
And reaching further still,
To the cave paintings of
Cueva de las Manos
Where human handprints
Abound and surround
A rhea’s three-toed foot.
The pebbles amassed
Themselves into stones
Which in turn composed
Into rocks and then cliffs
Over the minims and clefs
Of millennia, until
A whole coast emerged
Within your deltoids and
Trapezius, everything
Formed and reformed like
Disciplined ghosts
Of well-drilled archers
Who died fighting for Priam
On shores just south of
The Dardenelles’ mouth,
Where turquoise
Beaches of glass still
Shimmer, the same glass
Delighted the necks of
Ilion’s women,
As bright as Cassinian moons
In Saturnshine loops
In a distant, limpid river.

The Dancers

We collapse into each other
Though remaining far apart,
Two spinning supernovas
In a gravitational dance.
The passion is the poise
And exerting influence.

Raucous auklets on breezes
Of poetry, the aromas
Of coastlines in Chile,
We soar with promises
The Pacific cannot keep;
Nature’s in a trance.

And we are as complete
As seagulls pirouetting
With the sea, it’s in our
Names and genes, envelopes
To souls which dance in time
On two undiscovered beaches.

The Traps

Within wars weft, lifetimes before,
The traps of my self were set;
Bearded sappers breached the shore
Where future selves I met.

I surrendered myself without fuss;
The ingenious tools of men!
Colonels, handlebar-moustached,
Still sing of the clamps on my pen.

Clamps with jaws and razor teeth
My pen-holding hand ensnare,
Poisoned punjis shape a wreath,
My soul is pierced and bare.

Confidence and care suppressed
By granite rocks atop a stick,
Man-made methods, liver-pressed,
I watched the other authors tick.

Pelagic scenes the sappers reach
Where I was meant to live,
But mines entrenched along the beach
I cannot now forgive.

The Beach House

Through bamboo screens you’ll see the beach,
The beach where self-awareness opens
Slowly, like a barnacle unfamiliar with
Relinquishing its briny truisms,

Seagulls with pearls in their teeth
Buffer in time with the sea and beat
In a chorus the sunken skin of their souls
Like raucous musicians drunk on

Their own instruments. Love’s apogee,
From the beach you will free the sea,
Bound by corroding shackles, a monotony
Of men and desalinating prophesies.

Bold, profligate sea, you tossed back
Illicit passion on to the beach unapologetically,
As if a shark’s fin toughened or the Mother
Of All Wisdom, as silent as driftwood

And as memory complicit.
The curve of the earth was unimpressed
And distant, unimpressed by the sharpness
Of white horse crests, we shared

A heartbeat within an empty cockle’s nest,
Held to your ear, coveted, caressed
With shells, and we were awash with love
And sins across miles of blue emptiness,

As when your voice, or a semblance
Of your voice, remained in the room
While you were nude in a kitchen upstairs,
Garnishing dishes, asparagus spears

And salted North Atlantic fish;
And as when your rings fell into my stomach,
Jettisoned treasure, and the scent of varnish
On your toenails, a scent padlocked

In my buried chest forever.
Through bamboo screens you looked
Into the moons of me, and I was lost once more
In the intimacy of quiet eyelids.

On that inattentive sea’s behalf I listened
While into my widening ear you whispered
Directions for finding our love again
On four far and final islands.

Bluebird Ballad

Through this time of catastrophes
And near misses,
The Tower Of Winds and Hypotheses
Would measure your kisses
As Cyrillic keys pressed
Like notes from a typist,
Pinned to a wall
In a traveller’s room
From Budapest to Athens.
We absorb each other
In dissimilar ways,
The weather-vane spins
With bluebirds in rain;
Possessive apostrophes misused,
A crack in the bath,
A lack of sleep and
An aftermath in blue;
Every village has its limits.

Strange to consider then
How we are the same
As when many months of the Moon retraced
Lands me lost in a Saturday
When I bought your book,
Your anthology, that’s still
I confess, not fully read
Nor, I confess again, much understood,
But the passion and the act
Of guerillas uprising through verse
Had me infatuated.
Same eyes, yes, same hair,
Same faultlines from a post-war flare,
Standing on the self-same spot
More or less in Cambridgeshire
As if the bookseller’s plot
And my unmade bed
Are layers in blue
Of the High Poetess, on her
Alter cloth and within her dress.

If a curse made the earth
The size of a grain,
The universe inversely would shrink again
To the size of the inhabited planet,
Before from the massive mass it sinks.
If I carry my chances in marginal atoms
Why does my heart still roam untamed?
Reunite us on the beach
Held together with words and speech,
Type a letter of love to reach
Beyond the sands of time and graves.