Anuran

How I wish I lived until
I’d hear beyond my windowsill
A bluebell-banded burble-rill.

Silver birches, dappled spill,
Mossy logs cross warty swill,
By crag and copse a throaty thrill.

Yet life is for the living still,
And I’m not blessed by Nature’s will,
And so I sit, and look uphill.

Natasha Renewed

You were the envy of centuries,
Your love the unplundered loot
Under plum-coloured helmets
From mud-lusty Danes of Harthacnut.

You moved into a house
On a slope (made hazardous,
I imagine, by frost and ice
That yet must be a long way off
Along another horizon),
Next door to my grandmother
Who rested dutifully
In the annex
(Like an old mole
Upon your jawbone,
You resigned yourself
To her perspiring presence)
Carved from a former saloon
Where of an afternoon she snoozed
While keeping vouchsafed in a jar
Her one last sandstone tooth.
O how a home that could not exist
Yet appear with a simple veneer
Much like any other rooted
On this strange village street,
The only difference being
When you opened the door
There was nothing beyond
A jaded porch, lavender
And heather turned to dust
Along with dried
Forget-me-nots and
Compass points made moot.
You had changed your name,
I do not know why,
To Natasha, your eyes
As wide as a frontier
Where swirled surprise
And regret in those glass bowls
Once burning like calderas,
And in your hands
Scentless celeriac,
Cauliflower florets
And a head of herring.
Somewhere along the line
You bought eggs from a garage
In a parallel place and time.
At the very extremeties
Of our dormant love,
I knew too late to appreciate
That which I could never touch,
Neither ending nor the essence.

This dampening dream-like nature,
A long green duffel coat and hair
Once vibrant as sunsets
Over Mediterranean ports
And on to far Aden
And golden Sharjah,
Cities we knew a long time ago,
Now grey as a downpour in May
With a woodland scarf,
A husband – I could not meet his eyes –
Two children and my phone
Running low of charge
Like my soul, which is why
I step through my dreamcatcher
To wherever you are present,
Mapless, stateless revenant,
In a rendezvous pretences,
Preferring to be this lost,
I would rather be surrounded
By all those silent deaths above
Than tortured by the humdrum sounds
Of life removed from your love,
Modern and irrelevant.

Foxholes

My missing fox-soul searched,
Far from foxholes flooded;
Faux Moon muzzle-mud observed,
Drizzle cubs cold-blooded.
Her vulpine veins saponified,
Her den reborn inverted,
My hair aflame personified
One less soul converted.
Refrain a sale, saint to ermine,
Daylight’s dearth, unearthly bowl;
Something singing for your soul
For longer life determined.

Marshland Road

Eventually,
Those marshy roads
You pleasantly drove
On Sunday morning
Overloads,
Beyond skeletons made
From fenny pheasants
Ancient and less clawed
By toothless crows
O wide-eyed
Skies below,
Circus tents
And badger’s nose,
Swingbridge blues,
A bull to doze,
Will be essentially
As archaic and unexplained
As brittle canopic jars
Buried under
Tessaraed mosaics
And unidentifiable
Canine remains
In the tomb of
Amenhotep,
Second Pharoah,
A God aflame afloat.

Blind Chaffinch

Such nimble, quicker artistry,
Electric in their chemistry;
Fleet-footed, twig throne-seated,
In awe of more than fourteen free;
Chiding, momentarily;
Mocking and most formidably
Locking braiding jaws and beaks
Like dank dim horns
Sub-knuckerholes,
(Only these were forged
For popping seeds);
Then, confiding in their trembling,
Under withered-wimpled leaves
And snowdrop cloaks,
Within a cloister weighted-down
By later morning apogees;
Exuberant rain-dance chatter
With ancient unsolved dialects;
Newly found, this youthfulness
Could put all suffering, hubris
And pedantry
To bed.

A run on pumps,
Bleak the river bends.
I can hear the notes
But cannot see
Something so obvious
Ending just in front of me.

Jāta

Evolution is testing me;
Her step-sister, Society
Arrested me, complicity.

Canal side paths I cannot walk,
An ancient pump disused
Within a bruising of hedgerows;
My gaumy brain encrusted
With tawny bone and moss.

Deep within me,
Peaty bogs, a cairn stone
Beside a waterfall’s spooling locks
Where thoughts swirl in a pool,
Froth, and only downstream still.

Tell them, tell all the kilted boors
When their universal chores are done
And the last absconders have gone
That I rejected it all.

The Hermit Of St Kilda

A sturgeon in a muddy bath
Atop one wayward cleit-bound path,

A bunion-coloured troubled moon,
Swallowed by his bleak lagoon;

Bothy ghosts with bridal sedge,
Perilous steeper western edge.

He floated on a flotsam-skiff
Disembarked, in gloaming mist,

Footsteps in her foaming surf
Winds were purging sands and turf;

He knelt, and kneeling blessed,
Wilder elements would contest,

Existence, akin to snow still falling
Intrinsically, all thoughts appalling.

An aching storm then passing through
Shook the eyes in that lagoon,

Lugubrious eyes, ugly too,
All the things he never knew.

Dead-way eyes, and deadly too,
For all who looked within the gloom;

Rising above, more than self,
Prayed upon a skerry shelf,

While sturgeon, eel and salmon fled
Back to where the city bled.

Slowly The Silenced Soil Awakes

Slowly the silenced soil awakes
In great uncoilings of morning;
With heated blades their gas escapes,
Funneled from a foreign space,
A foamy, loamy environ
Beneath this heathy earth
Where truths are boiling in cauldrons
And with sediment recoiling.
Up here, for now at least,
Cold air, hoar frost,
Joggers puffing underneath
Skies as thin and grey
As dreams in a mute swan’s fleece;
Dog-walkers convene
With latent conversation,
Still wearing knitted hats,
Last year’s scarves
And woollen gloves,
Their feet patting paths
Like rain-charming starlings –
Only, the worms that emerge
Are solemn words reverberating
From our lost and lonely interred,
Their vapour trails rising
As blinding reminders;
The weeds and moss
As speechless as froths
Of periwinkle –
Embosser of Murderous Time –
And snowdrops huddled
Within a darkening corner,
Nervous, fragile ambassadors
Held fast to those Masts of Time;
Spring’s contract is unfettered
And these vernal lows are bettered;
The Goddess of Dawn stretches
Indolently, and is yawning
Before her audience
Begin their eternal dance.

Along A Weir-side Way

How slow the snake uncoiling
On weird cerebral lawns,
Grips those moles now grieving
And how the wagtail mourns;
Feet of gruesome coots are blue,
Uprooted and reborn.

His weir-side way gave us today –
Barbed our briar impressions;
His river’s course, unnatural,
Fallacies abounding wherever
Escapes briefly water or weather.
Too late the discourse and the dawn;
Too late misplaced starlings imitate
A feather’s fate forlorn.

A garden in his stomach then,
His bowels behold the bones:
Where self-conceited owls will plot
Their death, I walk the weir alone.

Stateless

First, a state did crack me,
And then the devil
Indivisibly did hack me;
In a dream, I hanged on a heath,
Poured my endless heart out
To thunderous friends
Suspended underneath
Where secrets will not keep,
For you cannot hold a pen
When peaty fens grip
With a potash-painted
Serrated beak.

In the ever-aching distance,
A final burning spire;
Nothing I can do.
Sky-ribs pierced,
Limbic cadences and seditions,
Marshland feet bound
With mallow and rue.

I soaked my face in the lake of the deaths –
I cannot say what I witnessed; instead,
A frozen rotten seagull wing,
A bald and bloodless silver moon.

I heard there is a market
Every weekday afternoon,
Where nature abundantly flows
In shapes of latent marrow
And ample, gravid legumes.