I have no misgivings
That Life is for the Living;
Go forth with your luminous
Lustrous and flourishing
Heart! You are the beginning
For so much cherished and loved.
There is nothing so urgent
As the higher sirens unencumbered
Proclaiming emergencies above.
You are the dock leaf
To my meadow-nettle sting,
Salve urticarial rashes;
You are cotton-light soul
To fill such holes
Within my spirit-dwelling;
You are in my tested toll
And heavy eyes at nine o’clock,
Drifting asleep in the old armchair
Where once you sat and sang to me
Until the next alarm. Know this:
Just because I am gone
Does not mean you are lesser loved –
Do not believe all you are told,
Do not descend a buried half;
Do not be deceived
By pre-constructed episcopies,
Do not settle for their losses;
If something is free
Then you may be the product
Of consumerist albatrosses;
And when the expurgating racists
Run our ruinous parliament
It’s time to move abroad.
Life’s a little better unscripted,
A little less choreographed
For the garlands in your heart;
Regardless, I cannot yet
Apologise for the pieces in our
Backwards path those others broke
So long ago, a squandering,
Anonymous in their parts
And we are stranded, poles apart.
Another ending is a start;
For eternity you will be
The finest creation I could conceive,
Yet Death again is stalking me,
And though I called numbers
Their manual did not include
My quicksand thoughts, and I
Become his maddening habit,
He takes comfort in my residency,
The rest is just formalities.
I cannot forestall the inevitable,
I cannot distract tomorrow
From chasing the tail of
Its sadness in gardens of
Summer sun-drowned lambs;
All I can do is remind you of truths
Ever preserved in this poem,
For how proud of you, my son, I am.
Your blue summer dress,
Unbuttoned hummingbird love;
Dim white-winter Sun,
I remember the deep snows
Dry day, you felt good,
Like a window to sunshine,
Before the blind’s drawn.
You found my shelf-life,
And devoured me in sunlight,
A vacuum droned in the distance,
Unending summer pain,
You were bathing in sunlight,
I was the last to complain.
I wondered how we arrived here,
Eyes white as Siberian beaches;
Your painted toes playfully circled
My devotion, rhapsodies in peach.
You caught the sun in your shoulders,
A helping hand beneath straps;
I left my work in its folder,
Lawn mowers loud as thunder claps.
The water butt was empty,
Evaporated hearts there cried;
I sometimes feel your touch still,
Though many years have died.
Wallet, keys, tablets;
I exit into sunlight,
And pretend once more.
Sunlight lets itself in again
Like a looter returning stealthily,
Plundering scenes of his origin
With neither shame nor learning.
He’s stolen colour from books
And he’s kept off the hook
The collusion of night;
The detectives don’t know
Which way they should look.
Do not misinterpret
The softness of his touch
On shelves and tills and locks,
For his expertise has not deserted
His faculties for profit and loss,
No matter how much the thrill
Of lovers restored and love long lost,
For what does he give in return
Once the daily raid is over,
But the same old worn excuses
And the knowledge of dust, and rot.
The time for sunlight to reach my old desk
Finds all people equal, cursed and the blessed;
The time for blood in my dreaming arm clots
Is your favourite song in twelve bar knots.
Our time to choose stairs, or elevator,
To views of Rome where many years later
Alone I returned, with my bag of regrets;
The time stays silent, with words never said.
The time for walking towards my gallows,
And judges drowned in red-rising shallows;
The time of pens to write a brief letter,
Gifts to a friend you have feeling better;
The time we lost for a bomb to explode
Should be time re-wired, to write this new ode.