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.
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.
Observe that certain beauty
In the dying light,
And though the signage
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I thought his sword rescinded,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,
Silent as a corpse.
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.
Cycle lanes abound
Around the lakes – leaves float down
Like undisturbed tears.
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.
Capabilities I traded
Some marshland moons ago,
No safeguard now for faculties,
My soul beneath the snow.
Snow-blind winter mirage,
Mistaking those colourless plains;
Snow is her own camouflage,
I misspoke her forty names.
Forty words for snow misspelt,
Fall from unknown heights,
Crystalline, and each unique,
To drift with inner blight.
I carried her lumen inside me
Throughout an adult’s candle-flux;
They scoured the lakeside vainly,
An isthmus village’s populous.
Wearing bear and beaver furs,
Who sought to revive my life,
Bitter friends, beloved strangers,
My heart’s beneath the ice.
On the lonely lake I conspired
To seal the eternal fate,
O lovely lake of long-lost summers
Now endlessly frozen in place.
Choose your moments wisely
For sacrifice found me and plight,
Resuscitation, love, is fruitless,
When death’s disguised as life.
Her lifeless body he hauled on the lake,
The shape is frozen, snowflakes shrouding,
The silence of the ice resounding,
Where Saffron Cod and Trout will shake
Legends of graves from their fins.
At this time of year, progress is slow
For the hunters of cougars in blinding snow
And braces of ptarmigan skins.
The cairn-stones said that Time
Lacks consequence for the dead,
But then there’s much the cairns have said
Which would not reach a hunter’s rhyme.
For with diligence of seasons,
And bare bones of detective seargents’
Marriages, the mountains mirror argents
Where sheer whites bite with lesions
He was thwarted by the thawing sheet.
Secrets return to shores I have seen,
Despite exertions, and ballast being keen,
The past and future splinter and meet.
Unageing, fixed by photographs,
Friends and family remember remarks;
You resurface when a dream disembarks
And deceives, seemingly sending telegraphs,
Sometimes it is hard to tell
Whether you speak of where you are now,
Or if the mind with withered bough
Deceives between its health and hell.
Afterlife, he makes that journey every day,
Lugging the load of himself on his pelt
To where the ice-sheet starts to melt,
And we are on our way.
There is a Preacher waiting
Beyond the seventh lodge,
These words prepared are gravitating
If goodness leaves its watch.
A Gravedigger from the village
Gave birth, to a Perpetrator’s wires,
We cannot restore the image
From before you wandered the mires;
For they excavate an oblong hole
And with a Carpenter conspire,
As single-minded as the mole,
The mole with a mind of fire.
Earthworms hoarded in his tunnels,
Thoughts down there we cannot absolve.
The criminal-in-waiting constructing funnels,
Humanity stirring sanity, when mixed dissolve,
Paid to lathe a cedar box
He slipped into the void,
The space and filling where a fox
Had life’s spiders all destroyed.
The woodland will witness silently
How soil’s disturbed so easily,
The muted lake’s complicity,
The backhoe rested queasily,
His bed a spade, his mind now trapped.
And yet these three men are moving still,
We hear the sounds of Time elapsed,
While you are stones on the furthest hill.
We remember your joyfulness and laughter,
Mellifluous more than spring-tide streams;
We love you all forever after,
In waking grief and grieving dreams.
We’ll cloak your permanent youth in gold
And resurrect your beauty;
Something happened which can’t be untold,
Conforming to spinsterly duty.
We are faster in our failing,
We carry your bones in our cages,
We are stronger when we are ailing,
We have suffered the fourteen stages.
The ingenuity is endless
Of mens’ cruelty so defenceless;
Our daughters all now friendless
For those nights loom long and senseless.
Guard the path beside the lake,
Daughters home before seven,
May you never read this at the wake,
For there are no rules in heaven.
[For S. and For U., in my thoughts and prayers when I wrote this].