Empty Jug

My mind on a table
Like a bare empty jug,
Portmeirion ewer,
Red matching mug.

Welsh dressers behind me;
Pine shelving captures
Low autumn light,
Meticulously managed

Commemorative dishes
And lilac bone china –
Beside me, a bowl
For imported delights.

Periwinkled rims,
Porcelain basins
Brimming with season –
Apples, squash and

Hawthorns for jelly,
Trim spindles for reasons
In Bible quotations
And needlework hymns

Sewed by our Nelly
Blessing the bins –
A dawn frost already,
Hair starting to thin.

A door in the corner
To a deep pantry leads –
I can’t turn the handle
Or let myself in.

Iron pots, cupreous pans,
Hung high across a range,
Everything brightly polished
Because I polish every day.

Abandoned baguettes,
Gavaged pâté delivered,
Braces of pheasants,
Gifts from Our Giver.

The party returns
Merry, lighthearted,
Mine still burns
For one less departed,

With tales of heroics,
Gusto and laughter,
For love of their flush,
Unmet ever afters.

Until then – only echoes,
Hall clock chiming three,
I filled up the jug
With milk for their tea.

My Body A Prison

All that I’ve been through,
All that I lost,
All that I valued,
All that I cost,

All my inactions,
Fully embossed,
Old malefactions
Buried in moss;

My body a prison
With cells unaccounted,
My past in a frame
Unglazed and unmounted.

I’m who you shake
For seeking your answers,
My heart in the arms
Of thorn-fingered dancers;

I hear in my mind
A ceaseless alarm,
For I lost every key
Cut to disarm.

All that you’ve been through
All that you lost,
All that you valued
All that you cost.

Parables

Black squid ink
Descends through
These pebbles
Of my body,
My teeth,
My blood black,
Purple ribs,
A deep infusion,
A bruising
Poisonous sea,
As I sit at my desk
And reflect
On how I failed
And O yes, how
I failed again.

Unprepared,
Unmade for this,
Steam from heat,
Pendulums for
Pencils and
Abeyances
For where I am
Both sitting
Semi-respectfully
And not sitting too,
Fitting and yet
Not quite fitting,
Neither into life
Nor, of course,
My death anew.

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.

Tombolos

Sometimes I could not feel
My feet or my hands,
These extremities
Of my experiences,
Socially tied
Like isthmuses
Providing havens
For radicals and
Eminent pariahs
From the edges of
The Hesperides,
Unable to return
To our homelands
For fear of persecution
Or reprisals
(Or if not the Hesperides
Then the Cyclades
Or Sporades, or if
Not the Sporades
Then the Great Orme
Or the Rhins of Galway
And also Blakeney Point
Where my tame grey seals
Sunbathe on sandbanks
And I know each one
By name for we are
One and the same),
I grew up believing
Radiators were designed
To handcuff hostages
By the mist of international
Politics – in lands
Without plumbers or
Thermostats, but wild
Celebrations which also once
Blinded a man as shotgun fire
Fell back down to earth –
Before returning by
Diving back in to
My childhood, one day
I remember vividly,
Colluding in my empty room
With an atlas,
A tiny life ahead
In parentheses,
Until I observed,
Dropping that great book,
My feet and my hands
Turn in to translucencies
Of lapis lazulis and shiny jade
And my wonder reverted
Into horror then
As I climbed up inside
The used husks of my future,
Where my whole long
And arduous life filled
With silent furores
Became a faded photograph,
In a family album
No one opened ever again,
Nor blew dust off
In that boarded-up house
From its light blue cover,
And what was once,
A long time ago,
A gold leaf letterhead.

Fumina Bianca

How sweet the sombre Moon,
Her constant timbres
In tremulous rhythms,
Crepuscular hues.
I have my own yellow
Contusion or two.

How easy for you,
Overdue now the Moon,
Pregnant, permanence,
Your statues in temples
Are resplendent and nude,
Only a subtle
Lightless
Subdued.

Pendular Moon,
Appearing too soon,
Indulging indolent soldiers
And causing seven hundred
Saboteurs in your shade to
Swoon. They planted a flag
On your granular calcified
Caldera where entombed
Pulmonary metastases
Are cultivars which once
Were those sluggish
Bedfellows’ scimitars;
They rest on
Their thuggish elbows
Your silence,
Your rays on their chest.

I reached for my own sword
And found bread
Shaped like crescents
Instead.
The sharp tip of the route
To the Moon
I witnessed,
Its lactating tip bore
A causeway from my bed
Into new nocturnal views again.

A witness to misfortune
And efforts in mute,
Disasters reduced to mere
Moments, and the life cycles
Of the great and ancient
Volcanoes rendered into
Wispy smoke,
As the dragon incarcerated
With potent stones
Woken by a cough,
Or announcements
From His concave staff,
Heralding a Pope.

Spiral

In the Autumn of my thoughts,
I poured my exploring self
Into one of my known past lives
Where somehow I became caught
Inside the awful seven lies.
Not the life where you
Track me back to a
Red-throated gecko’s crest
In my headwear,
And not the life
Where poems were tied
By one red ribbon
To my samurai chest;
No, deeper again,
To where our wagons petrified;
This is the clearing
And this is the song,
A place we are nearing
Where we do not belong;
Here are the stones
And here are the flowers,
Though petals have withered
And the stones block each hour.
They visit here in their hundreds,
Luxury coaches, air conditioning,
One hundred students
With pre-conditioning
And pink pleated curtains.

My meditative ability
Underneath here,
As much as an oyster and eyeless,
Shucked for humanity’s
Gut and its gears.

Time is a spiral
We surf southwards on,
God’s corkscrew pulls out
To produce the Big Bang.

I can tell you, all physicists,
What’s on that other side;
No more nor less
Than my lost love’s
Champagne-scented sky.

I Love You Dearly, Deeply

I love you dearly, deeply,
From my keeling core;
How could humble men my love
Wish for any more.

We flew above an ocean,
We found the furthest shore;
In the nets, a million fish
And I returned the trawl.

The merits of love are endless,
When love’s aligned, reciprocal;
Measures loss of time that’s gone
With flowers in our halls.

I love you dearly, deeply,
Bowers breeched the Fall;
The dead-end deaths are sleeping,
There’s time yet to adore.