Soul Coast

My feet are a foreign land
As I stand where surf relapses,
Whitecaps are my family
And encapsulate with great
Succinctness
And sadness

My lifetime of experiences,
An escapologist, an emphasis,
My bare toes in saline curls,
Where is my soul’s house
In this here and now?
I too loved the feet of her odes,

As measured as moonlight
With feminine verbs,
I caught a punctured headlamp
From a lane that would curve
And chicane until it meets
A coastal kerb, above

The haunting cove,
And I am compelled,
Once again, to restart,
To daylight’s return.
On periwinkle sands,
A mustard-coloured heart.

Immolation

I set my soul on fire,
Alive on a pyre of
Dry hyacinths and
Sad gladioli dreams,
A blind man’s
Sandals, and shoes
Without seams.
By a scruff
Of the neck my flames
Took hold of and wholly
Captured that beach,
Held up like a brace
Of heaven’s partridges
With only a tidemark
A cause for retreat.

A scandal for a year or two
And then the villagers
And media and cartels
Will sleep. We are all
Victims, one way or
Another, of sins.
A distant windmill withers.
In a dream sunk
Within a different dream
Your hand came out
Of my mouth like a tongue,
Like a mythical petrified snake
From a deep sunless cave
And for the first and only time
I was made complete.

Bare Feet, And A Breakwater

For a fleeting moment
My unfathomable toes and feet
Seem almost real to me,
Almost within reach,
As a once-foamy, infamous sea
Slips between and over
Mirages of my own
Mutinous limbs,
Sockless and unshoed.
Saints preserve us,
I am an unremarkable sinner.
I am an extension of the sea,
The sea exhales me and
For a fleeting moment
I almost feel alive.
Treacherous, beloved sea,
Beachcombing my dreams
For all you might retrieve,
You leave me empty handed
Until randomly and yet also
Not quite randomly
A glass appears in my hand,
Liquidless, my left arm aloft
Perseveres
As I make a toast
To my seaweed-surrendered
Familial ghosts.
Involuntarily, I lift a single
Foot, prosaic yogic pose
And in doing so
Crack the tragedies;
Another wave, just
As the old; another me,
Just as the one before;
I count my losses in beads
On a cord around my fortieth wrist,
The reality is this:
My waves do not break
But retreat, and retreat;
With each gravitational pull
The Moon colludes
With the sea, and these losses
Amount to someone else’s
Distant, enriching dream.

I must fulfil something, surely.
A spine of briny breakwaters
Backtrack towards a lower tide.
I cannot physically touch the loss.
One day, with the last great loss
Accounted for, there will be no need
For water, and you will be able to walk
From here, to that line of spruces
Just visible across the gulf
Which on summer days in my youth
Likewise appeared almost real in
Their shimmering form and
Remorseless truth.

Ode To Loss

I missed my coast-path daily,
Habitual old rabbit-paw friends;
And daily my undressed heart is
Stopped, sunk and restarted.
This is why a government
Installed defibrillators
In disused telephone kiosks
In every town and village.
For Dear Lord knows
I was not born to enrich anything,
Nor with only obals to pay,
Those coal-pennies tied by my wrist;
Nor to be so opportunistic
In blustery thoughts
And deeds as unrobust
As the grounded rusty trawler
Rattling in abandonment
As to dismiss
My heritage. I am from
The northern fringe
Where death is expected
And life’s an acquired taste.
Spare me accusations
Of being awfully maudlin
Or as morose as those unfed mosquitos,
Lethargic beneath the cliff-top lamps;
The near-dread ghosts unappeased
On their deathbeds are
Entitled to lucid oaths
And tiptoed pleas.
What use is a coastline, anyway?
An edge, ellipse, an ending;
Good grief is not for mending.
In those silent dunes to our left
Just over your shoulder
A young boy died,
Tunnelling with plastic spades
The sands gave way to
Somewhere colder inside.
I carry that family’s sadness
Compassionately and completely
Yet without their approval
Or knowledge.
Unwanted gifts,
The authorities in joint-wisdom
Installed a wooden sign which reads
Non giocare su queste sabbie;
Back then I misinterpreted this
As do not live now or then again,
Not more than a day or two,
That’s all there is remaining.
And over there, beyond
Greenish sea-sump pools
With seaweed symphonies and
Cruel ghoulish-claws of June,
Is where that lad’s car
Fell fifteen metres down the scar
Then through lagoons
Only to reach its rest
Wedged between a dream
Or two. He survived;
A farmer’s daughter now his wife,
And if not for him and
Loss of loss
The authorities in their
Infinite wisdom glossed
Would not have installed
A heras fence on this eternal cliff-top,
Although in autumnal winds
The fence would drop,
Often taking flight just like a
Dull metallic gull or
Mournful curlew’s song
From last year’s furloughed crop.

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.

The Withering Tree

The leaves upon the withering tree,
What’s good for him is not for me;
Mid-March grey, by May green,

Where he went cannot be seen;
Do dreams prolong without him?
Those stowed within his mind, it seems,
Harboured for my doubting.

Changed my clothes, change of scene,
Their remedies, a routing;
Bury me under a withering tree,
Atop the Oxen Mountain.

The Return

I know you have your worries,
I have my worries too,
Yet what is life without worries?
I’m one of the unhurried few.

When this all is over,
I’ll learn to fish again.
I’ll cast my nets into the sea,
I’ll learn to be a friend.

A hibernating spider
Is dreaming of my pen;
I’ll write about the worries
Until we turn again.

Then we’ll be in Avalon,
There we’ll live in the sea;
Speared by a sheering light
Of love, and quiet harmony.

Escargatoire

A promenade of snails
And promises daily entailed,
Within life’s escargatoire
Resides a finer refuge
From the Summer hails.

Every season
Unseasonal,
We walk a mountain trail.
Those fine Autumn rains,
Appalachian;
More than mizzle,
Less than drizzle,
Somewhere blessed and inbetween.

Reminding me of times
When briefly I felt
Communion with my
Thalassic soul,
And saltwaters surrounding
That long-lost littoral shoal
Changed, in time,
Jurassic coast
Metamorphosed whole
From teeth into salves
And then what else
I’ll never know,
Fuel for other people’s dreams
And other people’s songs.

We gave the world away
To dancers and to singers,
But in the giving of our gift
We salsaed with the sinners.

It will not be so long
Before this Autumn’s gone;
Where do we go, love,
With all our homes eroded
In this unfathomable loss;
Where chances all expired
And the precipice is seen,
Who will build a northern spire
Where you and I once dreamed;
Of weather and of mountains
And snails in their desmene,
And who will put a cross atop
Our church beneath the Sea.