Faltreir

I heard all you said,
About how I expend my time
At nowhere’s edge,
Ignoring the living,
Courting the dead.

Last steadfast leaves of autumn
With their crow’s nest views
And hardy crow’s feet skin,
Swiped like diseased teeth
And tossed into a low
Evergreen sedge.

That storm stole a blackbird’s nest
With one disarming vortex,
Firstly from the north and then
Again from the west.
It was an intricate weft of delicate twigs;
I wondered, how do those diligent,
Hard-working, indigent parents
Rebuild with such artifice,
How do those innocents
Start over in epicentres of
Such windy maleficence,
Pick up the twigs,
Pick up the nest?
And where will the child
Now emerge and
In its emergence
Break out from conformity
And finally live, and erupt
In the fires of self-fulfilment,
Above the bracken and the copse,
If a storm allows for this.

Butterfly In November

The guardian on duty
Fell into eternal sleep,
So he could not tell me
That ivy ceased crawling,
A stranglehold wore off,
That devious armies retreated,
Helmets for a broth;
Ice caps melted;
Oaks no longer spalted,
A sward in sunlight
For a short time
Stirred the early grass.

A butterfly in November
Landed on my finger,
And then a dainty
Ladybird; and I knew
In my thorn-protected heart
How planets and a moon
Might finally restart.

I Give The World Back To Nature

I give the world back to nature;
A waxwing with a breast of songs
Calibrates my credences,
Re-writes years of wrongs.

If gnostics, also stoics feared,
Divined this branch’s end,
What other laws acceded to
Make tools for our amends.

I give the world back to nature:
Conjugate, Platonic fox –
Milk may curdle, wood will rot –
As brambles smother brickwork clocks.

All my beliefs retreat in nature,
Moorland horses, forest boars;
Language seldom for relief
Nor remedies the source.

I watched a guru wash a lake,
His oily face was aged and cragged;
Flowing ocean, growing marsh,
Have me slowly backwards dragged.


Origins

A basking shark
Swallowed whole
A water horse;
When its stomata exploded
Time fell out, followed
By remains of fish
And juvenile squid,
Car tyre parts,
A severed head,
A battery charge,
Semi-digested,
Later became
Inspiration
For several
Famous inventors
And letters for my name
Amid fingertips
And foam fermented,
Bones in oaths
Cemented
Not far from a coastal path.

A dead shepherdess
Squatting upright in a nest
Portended through
An eyeless dream
That basking shark’s unrest.

I came to this coast
Two years ago,
Not for the amusements
Or the beachy sands,
But to search
Amid the dune grasses
And mollusc graves
And collect,
Searching
And foraging
If nothing more
Than to forget.

Rain on red sand
Ignites all the land.
I have a false memory
Of you holding my hand
As the dawn sun grew
In slow confidence,
Fanning out over
Marshes, fields
And settlements,
And once more
We began.

Valhöll

I did not say good morning
To a magpie, solitary fellow,
Conspiring with a rooftop
To clag my hindered eyelids.

Nothing changed.
The day stayed the same.
Grey, motionless torpor.

A leaf appeasing gravity
Spiralled to the floor;
Breathing-in is a luxury
I cannot afford.

Under a lantern-clad ladder
Leaning up into Valhalla
I mindlessly walked;
I stamped on cracks,
Send me back,
And smashed a mirror
With my orb.

Nothing changed.
The night stayed the same.
Sirens, waves of woe
And obsolete laws.

That magpie loosened its claws
And disappeared into
All-consuming hours
Which do devour in tides
Both the man and the boy.

Halcyon

Is there any fabled,
Unfathomable existence
More at one
With homely surroundings
Than fish flowing through
A river, gills and mouth
And fisher-spirits open
To planetary potentates
And every heavenly potential
Imbued in bluebottle djinn
And a sleeping
Grasshopper’s eye,
Under clear midnight skies,
A billion stars,
Spleen and queenly heart
And inner canals
Microcosms
Of wishful organisms
Larger and lesser
And dimmer
By far.

A kingfisher dreamt this,
Years ago,
Near coastal roads
In Zanzibar.


You Cannot Lose What You Have Not Got


I doubt my English citizenry,
(Minnow-country flapping

Like a long-since iridescent
Fish now ugly out of water,

On a rock, eyes diseased –
Opercula, and withered fins) –

Would neither blink
Nor care very much

If all our Earth did disappear –
Swallowed up

In a Black Hole’s epiglottis –
All skies and song,

Joyful, infinite nature,
Rhinoceros to a missel-thrush

All lost,
Souls too, with veins made

By rains and rare precious metals,
Just as long as there’s power enough

During regurgitated
Commercial breaks

To re-fill ferried kettles.

Ngurrumugu Ganbi

Adolescent kangaroo,
Outgrown mother’s pouch,
Pack of dingoes in pursuit,
His gawky form falls out –
Upside down, furry snout.

A wilderness deserts him,
Blind to why, though atavistic
Legs might kick, defensive surge,
Unprotective mobs disperse;
Understorey blending blood
With senna and sun-soaked gorse.

Fugitives found a fleeting feast.
Did you only exist –
Immaturity barely behind you –
So you could fix
The minds of beasts.


N.B In the Guugu Yimithirr language ngurrumugu ganbi translates as ‘kangaroo blood’.

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.

A Painted Sign In Green

Pool-black thoughts,
He moves through doors,
A scent of herbs,
Descending spores,
Trace evidence
Of cloven-footed
Carnivores.

Waiting for a call;
A scratch on the wall,
A cuneiform.

In a dream a donkey
Beat me with a stick,
Berated me with flehmen lips
For eating grass
(He said was his)
From pastures therein dwindling
And with the evening kindling
I pointed with my thoughts
To where three days before
A painted sign in green
Had clearly said to me:
‘Welcome, Pilgrims,
Rest Awhile Your Feet,
The Hay And Harvest Here
Is All That You Can Eat’.