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.

Boondocks Soul

Harvest moon,
Spoke too soon,
Sometimes this sadness
Could encircle
Vast treelines
In crimson lagoons.

I dreamt of the rest
While I slept on a boon.

Snow falls in my dreams
All year round;
Underneath,
A grey-bluish peat,
A muteness abounds.

Hoped for the best,
Received so much less,
I woke to a scent
I would describe
Neologistically
As nutmeggishness.

A northern moorhen cried;
The harvest also died.
I said I spoke too soon.

Endless Moons

Your smile lights up your face,
Your face lights up a room,
Light this world around you.

For you are vibrant candle-life
And concomitant fuel;
Within that waxing we will find

There burns another two –
Red and orange flickers,
In Chinese Lantern hearts

My lungs like old balloons.
Tea-lights in these lotuses
Over lakes, beyond pontoons,

Causeways through a thousand
Tiny, endless moons,
A route, a moment in time,

A kiss made statuesque
Within my memory of you.
Your smile lights up your face,

Your face lights up a room,
And when the night has found its place
Your light’s inside me too.

Red Moon Blues

I am your red-moon camisole,
A cheongsam of satin,
Lunar satraps patterned there,
A chaffinch in the cabbage.

I am your wardrobe’s winter-wear,
I trapped to bay a blizzard,
Then husky-sleighs across the lake
Beneath an eagle’s eyelid.

I am the fire in the hearth
When you return from working,
And water-ice for your champagne,
Cheongsam drapes a surface.

Lady In The Lake

Observe that certain beauty
In the dying light,
And though the signage
Read ‘Beware’,
I still conceived the flight.

The swans disguised as geese,
The geese disguised as swans;
Westward went that fleeting skein
Mellifluous my remorse.

For I have known the bones of snow
And blood redeemed from ice,
And I’d beware and warded off
The lady once or twice.

She lives in a long-lost village,
Submerged within that lake,
And when a poet’s heathen-set
His soul she gets to take.

I thought his sword rescinded,
A thrush his throat well-caught,
Ripple-effects reverted,
Silent as a corpse.


Grey Moon

Grey skies, grey moon,
Lanterns abandoned on the old pontoon;
Coldest rain, not quite snow,
Furloughed ghosts on shoreline roads.

Grey skies, blue moon,
Soonest mended isn’t soon;
I found you in a curlew’s tomb,
Curfew banners and a clue.

Moses basket, river child,
In the mists we walked a mile;
Surface bobbing sombre boon,
Grey skies, a greyhound moon.

Amethyst

I miss those frosty mornings,
Snowfall on a ridge;
Icicles on the awnings,
Amethyst laps the bridge.

I’m not for city dwelling,
My heart is with my love;
But she resides in times gone by
While half a soul’s above.

And so I miss those winters,
For winters warm as this;
Where we walked a lakeside path,
And found a moment’s bliss.