Autumnal Gourd

Autumn, season of your leaving;
Still, these cool crisp mornings
Are relieving and on this day
Unremitting, interceding,
Somewhat less deceiving
Than callow Spring
Or clammy Summer,
Winter being the other season
Of your departing, laid bare,
Apart from occasional snows
To cover distances between
Stark rationales and reasoning
Of these unclothed,
Exhausted lovers,
These seasons, back and forth,
Timeless time, remote
And lacking touch
Or fortuitousness
In any form.

Season of kindling and sparklers,
Of uprisings and people living dead –
I passed one or two in aisle number 9
At my local supermarket as I
Balanced newly arrived varieties
In my basket, of pears
And apples and parsnips;
Butternut, and quince for squash,
And broccoli for a soup;
I search for gourds from abroad
Where vegetables grow
More fleshily, abundantly as
Only a more tolerant
Populous deserves.
On my walk home,
Drenched to the bone
Because I rarely check weather forecasts
For I do not see the point and also
Drenched because I have
An ongoing dispute with umbrellas
(Which is likely to run forever),
I realised that I am
Routinely grieving for
A one-off surface-zero event
Eternalised in pumpkin-coloured ice
And the life of a gingerbread house –
Eat a piece and the walls fall down,
Its roof collapses as though
Stationed just beneath
A recurring, inevitable landslide;
Yellowing leaves drift down
Dumbfoundedly, yet I am
Constantly striving
In battles baked underneath
A sharp Yukon permafrost;
And so each season loses
Or, like feathers, moults
Something of their meaning;
Time becomes,
Instead of a
Celebration as inherently
She should be,
During these feelings
And through exposures
Undergo retrogressions,
Becomes a chore,
A dull surprise,
Like receiving a letter
By post in a brown
Envelope, plastic window,
Probably a bill,
Edges slightly damp,
Or akin, perhaps, to
A toothache.

Even a mild tooth complaint
Tells me I survived.

Yet I cannot help but think that
It was not so much that I chose life,
No, but rather life chose me,
And when you left
And I was bereft,
What else was there to see?

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.


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.

Time Capsule

O so carefully,
Three convenors
Unpacked my
Cracked and dullish
Antique soul,
Dusted it down,
Then planted her
Purged uncertain
Roots preserved
As diligently as
Ushers for Autumn,
And as attentively
As heavenly plotters
For a gravedigging daughter.
There was no little ceremony,
Deft moves with economy
All of their own,
Padlocks and padding,
Bricks for the weighting,
Their lips switching
Beyond linguistics
And everyday knowledge,
The ways of nature,
The birds in their words
And trees in their homage,
Uttering under each breath
Esoteric phrases –
The curse of the left –
As by my soul
I was slowly dripped
Into a humble
Time capsule.

A commemorative
Century passed by;
Then, without plaques
Or fanfares
Or industry all adrift,
An appointed time
Arrived, silently,
With nobody there
To open the lid.


Lunar mood fringe,
They placed several tiny pins
In my undernourished sides,
My diaphragm and then
My abdomen.
They did this for a promise,
For prophecy, and yet
When no blood flowed
Nor did I flinch nor wince
Nor died, they hauled
And winched me up
By my rusty flehmen lip,
To survey all extents
Of the damage they once did.

Far away from my vantage
I could discern a dust bowl;
Local Angle diminishes grief.
Despite the best intentions
Of actors and musicians,
Also known as charlatans
And often politicians,
We are worse off now
Than we were back then.
There is a bald eagle at war
With itself, it circles and calls
In brawling self-doubt;
In a dream irrepressibly
Parallel with that downy beast
Four bearded men rode side-saddling
Into a town where football grounds
Are venues for public displays
Of punishment and the schools
And universities and places
Of worship were left deserted
Long ago, long before my desertion.

When misappropriating men
Chase flags or desecrate chalices
Or bulldoze summits
To landscape the world a little flatter,
It is always women out of love
And children out of hope
Who are doled the most to suffer,
And at last I could see
From these barren heights
How Time’s helices reverted
To a more peaceful place
Wherein my less bleak thoughts,
Moreso than all of these,
Became at once atavistic and
Goldenly aboriginal.


If we were kings
I would have lain
Wasted all this time
In the eternal sleep,
A fraid, stale garland
Within my loosened clutch
About to fall off
To where reason
Regicidists reaped.

Purged frail teeth,
Patternless slate cleaned,
A stained glass window
Up above me, high,
Someone stole the colours
Reflected in my hollow eye.

Time’s grating ivory claws –
Instead of thorns, ivy,
Yellow bruises
On my forearms,
In front of my upturned feet
Their ruptures freshly paved
With fallacies.


Same thoughts,
Get over it
The counsel said,
Within a witch,
When she stirs
I start to twitch,
When I twitch
I start to think,
Gears will shift
And skin will itch.

Same thoughts,
Same day,
I was born
To be betrayed,
I was born
To know the stray.
Why this cursed,
I cannot say.

Death herself is
More or less
Somewhat experiential,
A bruising myth
Handed from fathers
To their children
Like unwanted gifts;
Ushered in,
Rather than die
For certainties
I fly on a whim
That skims
In the far Hesperides.

Drowned by
And cajouling Fate,
Stateless sister
Wearing midwinter,
A bleakly
Wielded and
Unreformed and

One of my
Is emerging in my
Synaptic troughs,
This one headed with
You are not good enough‘.
His thoughts are in crimson,
There are eels in his blood;
When he moves, I tend
To expend
Entire mornings lost
Watching windscreen wipers
Swiping in the same
Parking lot
I mentioned before.

Death is whittled
On whetstones of Time,
Sharp bladed Time,
And I am frightened
Of a place that is final,
A place definitively
Made without rhyme.

No Way Back

Forever will it be the case
That those I love most deeply

Are not the ones most likely
Dissipating in vague apparitions

To be missed every long grey
Overcast day.

When Love and Loss entwine
Through ramshackle

Outback outposts
In my abandoned mind

One suffocates the other
Until there is only ivy,

No jasmine for fragrance,
No berries for wine;

A vast and dusty plain ahead,
My road home, my signposts

Disappeared without a trace,
And I am standing here,

A village sank in sand
But gravestones remain standing

Throughout a land made parched
And perilous, so very long ago.