Norfolk

Clouds the size of minor planets,
Cumulonimbuses, and expanding;
Cirrus sunsets mesmerising.
You can tell as we approach
The coastline, you can smell
On a breeze rocksalt and diesel
Even before you see creaking
Metal shop signs, rust flakes
Concealing their meanings.
Intrepid starling squadrons,
Nimblest swifts and swallows;
Birthplace of tsarist pretenders
And far greater adventurous sailors.
You can see these fields of rapeseed
And mustard from space
And if we had our way
We would paint the whole world
For just one day in yellow.
Warblers and wayfarers,
Farmers of the Seas,
Accents as broad as a snoring giant
By folklore kept in Cromer’s cliffs;
At times ineffable, I can hear
My own inflections veer
From North back into the East,
Comfortable as hands in midwinter
Mittens, this never-ending
Friendly vernacular.
Raindrops do not stop
Wrens and finches singing
In a land without misgivings;
Expert chefs with epaulettes,
Neither judgment nor regrets,
And in her epicentre there are
Markets blessed, cathedrals and
A Kingfisher Spirit winding.
Time is slower here,
And though everything has changed
So too has nothing,
For I thought as a child
With those clouds in exile
I could not ever perceive
Bluer skies or as widened,
And though I am ancient
And travel-weary from hills,
That child is yet to be denied
And he is proven still.

I threw my bones out the window
From a room where I once slept,
Photographs abounding
With our divorced and dead.
You know when they’re getting older –
Dust thrives most unchecked;
Dead flies and curdled milk;
There are spiders the size
Of your clenched-up fist
Within their potting shed;
They can readily fall asleep
With nodding heads
By 8.15p.m.

Their Labrador died recently,
Her third leg went,
And I felt that it was palpable,
The quiet blanketing silence
Like a black pall of snow
Over this whole house;
Instead of friendly greetings
There’s a tough wringing
Out of untrustworthy Time
To dry on a washing line
By copper-clad clock hands,
And as a musty tablecloth
Hosts marmalade unopened,
So too the inevitable jar
Of last year’s home-made jam.

Taraxacologist’s Song

I've been foraging for borage,
Buttercups and a certain
Salving parsley, floral
Wreaths and silence,
Foxgloves floating in their thousands,
Beyond
My soul-tsunami.
Above love's undergrowth
Billow seeds of lion's teeth,
Also known by cankerwort,
Irish daisy,
Witches' gowan, take
Your pick dependent
On your parlance,
Slowly drifting by
Like the quietly
Glowing intentions
And desires of
Subtle snowflakes.

No greater miracle we need
Than Nature -
Germination, regeneration,
We packed away our overcoats
And umbrellas and crumbs
Of conversations to stand
With crowds in verges,
In suburban lanes where
Carnival celebrations
Passed us by, a smile,
A photograph, a wave.
For this self-renewal,
I saw that same procession
With elephants and acrobats
And other-worldly fruits,
A girl with second sight,
A vial of dust did sprout legumes,
A great-great-grandmother
From the coast who met
Her son exhumed; flags
And banners and drums;
And there, within
This entourage's
Centrifuge,
A quite magnificent
Lioness, born from leaves
Through penury,
Through belief,
Through ritual and rosaries
And into then beatitude,
Never better expressed than
In some jagged leaves
Of a weed, upon
A kerbside edge,
Recipient of our wonder,
Thereafter born anew.

Foxhole

Straggly sprouting rust-coloured roots
Define my vulpine life;
At dusk, I stare up from my earthy-bedded
Denizen, up this red tubular shoot
I dug out with my snout
To observe a dutiful Moon,
Rusty too, old ruby shoes,
With my paw I claw for an awful truth.
Distant Moon, you are unrepentant,
Occluded too,
And unlike most other liars
Have nothing to say that’s new.

Dark chute, daylight blues,
I rest my head on my outstretched legs
And watch the ostracised humans
Moving to work.
I once had whiskers of fire
And I would dream about you,
Fearless dreams, dead dreams
Starving mutual fuels of desire and truth.
Along with those roots there are
Long-buried plastics and also bones
From crones and a Viking tooth.
At times, it is stifling down here and
I have nothing left to chew.
Our litter, by some absurd urge
Of the Great Dictator Nature
All outgrew their rooms. Of course,
You were the apple of my eye
And I thought, I believed
Habitually, against my better sense,
Ritualistically, squeezed beneath a fence
That I could not live without you.
This was a lie, for whom Nature
And I inevitably colluded.

New bins, broken lids,
My nose is still the same as yours
(Although olfactorily mine is more highly
Evolved), and I am not immune
To crossing busy turnpikes
In the early evening light
In the hope, as thin as the unblinking
Eyelashes of Moon, dodging lorries,
That a car might careen
Through a new reality or two.

Last Armadillo

When the last remaining animal –
Or statistically likely to be
Insects pestled from their
Trillion kingdoms into
One final fly’s resilience,
Or persistence in a millipede,
Entrenched, like a final
Ardent campaigner armoured and
Protesting against a railroading
While his friends from
Treeline canopies all fell,
Curled in a hopeless ball,
In otiose defiance
Against humanity, and defence
Instead of deference to
Authority, Ark-reversal,
Last armadillo, last pangolin,
Last bat, turtle, last blue fin,
What will happen then
Upon this faithful reel,
When dejected, I am
Reincarnated
Upon a karmic wheel.

Pigeons On The Gate

I crave an end to endless days.

This season must be Spring.
I have just witnessed a return
Of two boisterous
Libidinous
Courting pigeons.
When I open a door
They act above suspicion;
A flurry of downy-grey feathers
And chesty burrs under
Intentions Nature has hidden.
A dog is defending her right
To galvanise all dust and dirt,
She chases her own tail
As though extraneous.
We are much the same
Through heaven and earth.

I caused all this
With my senses, with my
Tick-tock tick-tock
Effervescence surfacing
In defiance of my
Self-sabotaged demise.
But pigeon, and dog,
Also a headless chicken,
You are complicit, too,
Existing in my field of view.
The garden not long since
Waterlogged
is now is my synagogue.

I flirt just as those pigeons
With the edge of spiritual
Inhibition.
Back to my yard-broom,
Back to my shelving.
This air is the same air
Of a twenty-year old’s depression,
His lonely, self-misunderstanding
Breath. Unfaltering in your
Hungry unhappiness;
Dear adolescent self,
Let go of the fallacies
Surrounding you;
I have not advanced,
I have not progressed.
I dance with the dust
And the dust is my death.

Marginal

I walked through a wall of existence,
Still breathing, still believing;
Brickwork little resistance;
I caught myself in a mirror,
Where the new tide goes out
A sea-tongued oppressor returns
To burn the littoral villages,
(All the villagers succumbed to flesh or fled),
Terrorises forgotten margins
By a finest thread, then departed.
The sea is in my stomach,
Within the acidic ripples
Briny anatomic micro-organisms
Breathe and live and cling
Like bivalve molluscs
Balanced on an edge
And I am the ballast
Between life and death.
These unseen beings which cling to me,
Surface only to surf on waves which begin
With servitude to this nude existence,
Yes, beyond the ellipse and bells
Of life and of death,
Where everything we give
Is received by an unrivalled sea,
Effortless are the divinities in
This efficacy, these elegies
Where the sea says her prayers
With whitecap-rosaries,
Seaweed petals and confetti of squid,
Their ink so black it could forge a night
And blind these biting gods,
Ravenous on the rocks of their follies.