Amentiferous

Today is the same day
As yesterday,
And every day preceding too.
The weather may change –
The same bleeds tomorrow –
And slowly then, a view.
A skinny, catkinny frost,
All futures somewhat like
Frozen carp in a cube,
Suspended, inanimate
Within a lake unthawed;
A whitening sun ignored,
Bleaker the sky, and blanched,
Inscrutable eyes widely forlorn –
A stupefied state –
So too the perch,
The grayling and the dace.
And so too, yes, the sky,
White as a severed heron’s chest,
White as survival and yet
Still agonisingly fruitless,
I pack up my taxonomies,
Slowly headed for home
In my exposed, irrevocable chest.

Swan In A Restaurant

Lately this bald lake
Is a beer can graveyard,
More litter than fish which
Occasionally float
On the surface, lifeless
And bloated and stripped
Of their sequin-coloured
Sequences.
Still, a scent of bergamot,
A lost incongruous
Birdwatcher with
Binoculars on a cord
Around his neck
Says a cheerful hello
And we are on our way.

A single bold swan
Wandered into a restaurant
Beside the lake
Yesterday as we ate,
Yellow tag on her ankle,
Perusing for food,
Brazen and tame.
She could take my dreams
And sculpt with her beak
A series of images
With memories interlaced.

Little then required to inspire me,
Just you and me and a song;
For many years afterwards,
Years after you had gone,
I wondered whether that swan
Had ever visited at all.



Norfolk

Clouds the size of minor planets,
Cumulonimbuses, and expanding;
Cirrus sunsets mesmerising.
You can tell as we approach
The coastline, you can smell
On a breeze rocksalt and diesel
Even before you see creaking
Metal shop signs, rust flakes
Concealing their meanings.
Intrepid starling squadrons,
Nimblest swifts and swallows;
Birthplace of tsarist pretenders
And far greater adventurous sailors.
You can see these fields of rapeseed
And mustard from space
And if we had our way
We would paint the whole world
For just one day in yellow.
Warblers and wayfarers,
Farmers of the Seas,
Accents as broad as a snoring giant
By folklore kept in Cromer’s cliffs;
At times ineffable, I can hear
My own inflections veer
From North back into the East,
Comfortable as hands in midwinter
Mittens, this never-ending
Friendly vernacular.
Raindrops do not stop
Wrens and finches singing
In a land without misgivings;
Expert chefs with epaulettes,
Neither judgment nor regrets,
And in her epicentre there are
Markets blessed, cathedrals and
A Kingfisher Spirit winding.
Time is slower here,
And though everything has changed
So too has nothing,
For I thought as a child
With those clouds in exile
I could not ever perceive
Bluer skies or as widened,
And though I am ancient
And travel-weary from hills,
That child is yet to be denied
And he is proven still.

I threw my bones out the window
From a room where I once slept,
Photographs abounding
With our divorced and dead.
You know when they’re getting older –
Dust thrives most unchecked;
Dead flies and curdled milk;
There are spiders the size
Of your clenched-up fist
Within their potting shed;
They can readily fall asleep
With nodding heads
By 8.15p.m.

Their Labrador died recently,
Her third leg went,
And I felt that it was palpable,
The quiet blanketing silence
Like a black pall of snow
Over this whole house;
Instead of friendly greetings
There’s a tough wringing
Out of untrustworthy Time
To dry on a washing line
By copper-clad clock hands,
And as a musty tablecloth
Hosts marmalade unopened,
So too the inevitable jar
Of last year’s home-made jam.

Beckoning

A deluge in May,
Kerbside surface spray,
Torrents overwhelm
Dank country lanes.

Driving in low gears,
Waterfall chicanes,
Wrong latter ways,
Reminds me of childhood

And leaping over streams
Beneath a tarn-light bay,
Beside a dead man’s seam
In long-lost dreams

And longer lesser days.
Over there, a castle, see,
Its ghosts roam free
Through basements, attics

And these oak-pannellings
Overlooking a sodden
Village green;
Stumps received,

And sandwiches filled with
Cucumber and cheese;
The church hall leak,
Well, we can fix,

While men in linen-whites
Played winning willow innings,
Then ominous rains returned,
And a beckoning for tea.

Someone Else’s Song

I heard the end of your song
Before you finished singing;

I found the end of my life
Before I finished living.

Now I’ve been singing someone’s song,
Their words in my mouth, verbatim,

And over time their phrases replaced
Everything I had forsaken;

Routed out, vicarious mouth,
Only my soul’s voice was not taken.

Ansonia’s Song

Are these matters
Commensurate, I really have
Little or frequently no idea.

All I know is relative
Within my idealistic heart,
This desire, wanting you near,

Like a pendulum pulling on
The weights of my attention,
Harmonic oscillations,

I stand in the hallway of my life,
Dust appears in shafts on light
Through a stained glass window

Above a blue door I cannot open,
Doomed to stay motionless
Until I am used for new fires.