Padlock Lake

I’ve fed dead fish
At Padlock Lake,
Five miles above
An old sluice gate.

Over yon way,
Beyond game-sedge,
A calf eats hay
At Ghost Farm’s edge,

I knew, like you,
From early ages
Through hardship and harm,
Through old Autumn breezes

Cold as a fist,
This inability to wish,
We dreamt of byres and
Troughs instead.

We pass by a polite
Chinese scientist
With one arm
And owls woven

On grey lapels.
Yon farmer exists
In a caravan balancing
Precariously

On rusting teeth.
Brambles and briar
Nettles and dock,
A solitary robin,

Red from the cross,
Her songs could span
An albatross, in flight,
Over oceans of moss.

Years later
I found a certain haven,
Pulling those fish ribs
From a peaty bog,

Not far from where
They found a body within
A concrete outflow pipe,
Naked, leaking, exposed.

Sometimes even gods
Of parks and lakes
Make human-seeming
Basic mistakes.

Still To Live

You touched my lips
With your fingertips,

Exquisite verisimilitude
In every moment’s potential,

Fragile as tomorrow’s moth,
Enduring as a marrow-tusk,

And softly you spoke,
Almost inaudibly,

Infinitesimally,
‘Please try and forgive

For when we do not act’.
I did not understand

As gently holding my hand
You touched the very tip

Of expectation
Spiking my existence,

Drifting into a mist
Of memory and reason.

‘I love you so,
This much you know,

But not enough
Still, to live’.

And with those words
I came to know

Crude openings of loneliness,
Closing of a season.

Drinking Partner

Perhaps, drunk with my death,
Yet death my drinking partner,
Passed me every refilled cup,
Every tankard foaming after.

Death who did the yeasting,
Death who farmed a barley,
Soul-beer for our feasting,
Prone to darker parley.

He drove a Harley-Davidson
And dumped me on a porch,
His wiry eyes were gnarly,
His pupils held a torch.

Each morning his reversing
Equipped me for his bar,
And though he kept me burning
I felt those rains afar.

Pallbearer’s Song

There is a light transcending,
I broached its dappled fall,
And though I neared the ending
Such light left me in thrall.

I carried him on my shoulders,
Flowers spelt my name,
Relatives somewhat older
Gave all hell to blame.

I lowered myself by an altar,
Hymnals in a hand,
And though they sang with gusto,
Silent was the land.

However low I travelled,
Misguided wrongs recalled,
Sunbeams on a glady gravel
Seek to be my pall.

Everybody Matters

I am my own death.

Uplift blackening acrid smoke.

People fall down.

Blessed observers
Surviving
And thriving
On wi-fi
And serendipity.
Some did choke.
Some awoke,
But not all.

I gave birth
To twin apostrophes
Then suddenly spoke.

Bleak confetti,
Death wedding,
Lateral bleeding,
Distant heaven.

I dreamt last night
That every living entity
Has soul,
So why is there
In some buildings
And some people
That deeply observable hole.

Taxes, beliefs
And comfort
Paid for all this.
You can talk and share
All you want,
Blind and besotted,
But beyond a white cap
The next one is
Already plotted.