Haiku #767

767.

Each traffic light – red
As I drove for home, alone;
Wonders of meaning.

Flavit Et Dissipati Sunt

Is this the device
To restore me to life?
Aside from Time.

Aboard a forecastle,
Transshipping north,
I had for a while complained

On a dead-dream’s galeón
About that empty butter-dish
As a reflection of maritime

Indiscretion and, yes, indiscipline,
When, mizzenmast by mist absorbed,
I observed the strangest

And yet also greatest tactic
For navigating by enemy ships
My mind might ever deploy –

Such naval mastery,
Having praised the artistry
And admired the torsional

Balance of Riggers
With hands as thick
As a goatskin canteen

I recalled as a boy,
Crafted by one zahatogile
Who lived in the hills

Between beautiful old Bilbao
And her sister-ville, Vitoria-Gasteiz,
With the vigour

Of rumours
In human form,
I watched those sailors

See their majestic
Eponymous flaxen cloths
Unfurl like those enormous flags

High above God’s citadel –
I could only marvel, open-mouthed;
My porcelain soup-ladle fell

To the floor with a clunk
Of patterned petuntse on oak,
Oak above ocean

And bitumen stores, and bunks.
I witnessed that pernicious
Enemy approaching,

Those hawkish sea-dogs set
To embed their yellow jaws
Into Iberian hulls,

When with miraculous invention
And a surreptitious detection
The whole, entire ship,

From fore and aft
Ballast and derrick and all
Submerged slowly, deliberately,

Its seaborne form
Into much murkier waters
Until even our crow’s nest

(Which I once sat within
With telescopic lens to check
And did detest that

Vertiginous platform)
Disappeared from sight,
And the royal mast’s tip

With every man and boy
From Powder Monkeys
To a Quartermaster himself,

Sunk and sunk and sunk
Somehow, yes, sunk,
Under the surface

Our seven hundred men
Descended, by what artifice,
By what new science

I had simply no idea.
Time slowed down,
Saturated pumps immersed,

Until the advancing party passed –
Kittiwake-facing adversary –
And our loneliness checked,

Our gallant vessel
Rose triumphantly,
Independently from nature,

No fish in a tricorne,
No whelks in our breath,
All the saltwater pouring

Away from our death,
We sailed on, yes,
Impervious

To our future defeat
And descent, until
The English said

Flavit et Dissipati Sunt,
Our angels translate as
Repent, Repent, Repent.

Sometimes I Fail

You will move too, eventually,
To leave me alone with my grief.

Sometimes attempting to wash
Bruises away, I do succeed

With those internalised,
And sometimes too, I fail.

Ahead of me, as I thought
About you and patterns of

Dazzling sunlight, two
Overweight dog-walkers

Ambling and unaware
That their dogs had died

Some years ago, well,
As I overtook, in a hurry,

The nearest woman
Raised a flat hand

To just about underneath
Her chin, signifying

Silently that I am to remain afloat
With her only silent gesture.

Arriving home, I called my son –
The missing one sat opposite.

You said one word, repeatedly,
But the line was not so clear

And I failed to hear
What you needed the most.

Unguligrade

Lost
In elaborate
Oblast-wide
And aboriginal
Anarchical
Ladybird-shaped
Labyrinths
Of my clockwork mind,
No way in
And no
Way out,
No signs in a concrete sky,
No internationalist help,
Just dead ends,
Drainage channels
Shaped for my tears
And Time.

Always
Subtle,
Time.

To speak,
I open my mouth,
Move my lichen-lips
And mossy nostrils
And larynx about,
But no words now
Come out.

And though
I summoned
A squall
Of thoughts
Thunderous
As ten thousand
Stampeding
Elephantine
And rhinoceros
Feet beneath
My howdah-like hope,
Those walls were not
Demolished
Nor even diminished,
My life no more
Than a demoted
Capitalist’s
Grey plastic trope.

Their hunting party
Marched onwards,
Tusks sharpened,
Banners and bluster,
Oblivious to
A hurting man
Not far beneath
Where unguligrade
Digital comforts
Impact under
Those herdsmen,
Those conglomerates
Entombing sand,
Dust and undergrowth,
By perrisodactylic
Surfaces
Engulfed.

Pallbearer’s Song

There is a light transcending,
I broached its dappled fall,
And though I neared the ending
Such light left me in thrall.

I carried him on my shoulders,
Flowers spelt my name,
Relatives somewhat older
Gave all hell to blame.

I lowered myself by an altar,
Hymnals in a hand,
And though they sang with gusto,
Silent was the land.

However low I travelled,
Misguided wrongs recalled,
Sunbeams on a glady gravel
Seek to be my pall.

Ever The Lake

A waterfall inside me
Cascading from my past
Floods a field around me,
My stern is rarely fast.

Fix a lantern to my soul,
See volumes on that shore;
Levels rose beyond the toll
While inner tears endure.

I feed the spring of my sorrows
Each time you disappear,
I’ve cried my many tomorrows,
Though dry the eyes that steer;
For passers-by I will deny,
Though ever the lake is near.

Seabed Song

‘We are always
Attracted
To doors
And other
Less perplexing
Exits’,
The old man said
(As our freezer-trawler,
Ophelia In Blau,
With leeward lurch
Later forced
A futile search),
‘And old fashioned
Windows
With seaweed
And latches,
Letters to lovers
Parceled in batches,
A room
Fashioned
Like a skull
On a ship
Just like this,
Sinking
Without
Its hull, or indeed,
A trace,
Moss in the corners
And pheasants in
A briny brace;
A grandfather clock
With empty face,
Barrel and fusee
And organs exposed
On its side,
Water through sockets
And essays in pockets.
Letterboxes
With unhinged grins
As everything spins
In this underwater lozenge,
Including the finest
Jasperware
And Spode
We should have left at home
As all the shelf slides
Along with our lives
Down
And down
And
Seabedwards’.

Meditrinalia

Endless splendour of Autumn,
The most auspicious season;
Summer’s sulphurs banished,
Unhelpful thoughts and reason.

There’s always time for change,
A stillness time surprises;
May truth arraign the meddling way,
Stripped of their disguises.

Distance is no failing,
Our losses are not training
For deathly aisle-bound brides
Dressed in greys and waning.

My favourite season, then;
Cooling, hope adjusts to light;
Heaven’s just as powerful
When at her furthest height.