Dolorous

Mockeries
Of democracy,
A companionship
Of loneliness,
Obtuse
Collective nouns.
On a top floor
Of my mercies
We designed –
I do not know why –
A water feature,
Incongruous
And somewhat vain,
A bowl formed
From igneous rock,
Only, a leaky
Feeding pipe
From a fireplace
Caused a gorge
Or fissure
We have to step across.
In this huge new building
People compliment
Beautiful views
But I worry
About that leaking
And a distinct possibility
Of damp in these books.

In the distance,
Or it may be inside me,
I hear a colliery band
Strike a dolorous tune –
A bugler too – and as
With all things lost
Therein lies a
Sombre mood.

I can’t remember how
I parked the car,
Let alone where,
Or how much all this
Shopping cost.

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.

My Family Is The Type

My family is the type
Who, while the Titanic
Of this life is sinking,
Stand westwardly and
Thinking how delightful,
How beautiful this view,
This nightly icy view,
Whilst whistling a tune
Of some long-forgotten
Ditty, and this view is
O so pretty, their words
A fuel to keep me down
Beneath a winter’s bloom.

With my bailing bucket
And my useless glue
Suppressed within that blue
They survived, it’s true,
And traveled on
To somewhere new.

House Of Ghosts

A road through rose-coloured mountains,
Arisen in moments less smoky, more bright,
Silently stole my bestowment,
Softer a focus in light.

All those times I solemnly demurred
To where this heart by evening burned,
In this heart my beating chest,
In these ribs now laid to rest.

All endless routes impassable,
Assembled stars loom darkly
Stern statues in a hallowed sky;
Beyond countless thorny doors

A final chance before losses advance
To yearn, though little is learned,
Which explains to you why
For those mournful mountains
I endeavour again to return.