Amentiferous

Today is the same day
As yesterday,
And every day preceding too.
The weather may change –
The same bleeds tomorrow –
And slowly then, a view.
A skinny, catkinny frost,
All futures somewhat like
Frozen carp in a cube,
Suspended, inanimate
Within a lake unthawed;
A whitening sun ignored,
Bleaker the sky, and blanched,
Inscrutable eyes widely forlorn –
A stupefied state –
So too the perch,
The grayling and the dace.
And so too, yes, the sky,
White as a severed heron’s chest,
White as survival and yet
Still agonisingly fruitless,
I pack up my taxonomies,
Slowly headed for home
In my exposed, irrevocable chest.

Alaska

A kettle appeared in my hand
From nowhere,
And the entire land
Became orange and broken.
I remember you,
Spearer of white salmon,
Your heretical parents –
Those academic navel gazers –
Abandoned you to delusions
And a gnawing consumption.
No wonder you moved to Alaska,
This spoke nothing of you,
Glued to the hues
Of forest and tundra,
Of numberless lumbering
Grizzlies, lunar phases
Unencumbered behind secret
Nictitating eyelids,
And everything of them,
His head between a women’s legs
And hers wedged into an oven.
Sometimes, sub-arctic skies
Seemed so vast, so all-consuming,
Your bruised soul could slip
Off a precipice and
Into the basalt rubble,
And that, of course,
In time,
Is exactly what you did,
Standing in those atrocious
Foaming rapids, in galoshes,
The rod appeared in your hand
Just like this whistling kettle,
Akin to the miraculous
Echoes of odourless thought,
And in that moment perhaps
You felt alive so clearly,
So attuned to the hubris
That all of a sudden
You died, too.
You forgot how to swim
As your limbs metamorphically
Merged with sockeyes
And piny yellowfin.
The rifle appeared in your hand,
Also from nowhere.

No poet saved the world
Through writing alone,
Yet they should not have
Ever suggested
That you could.

Lady In The Lake

Observe that certain beauty
In the dying light,
And though the signage
Read ‘Beware’,
I still conceived the flight.

The swans disguised as geese,
The geese disguised as swans;
Westward went that fleeting skein
Mellifluous my remorse.

For I have known the bones of snow
And blood redeemed from ice,
And I’d beware and warded off
The lady once or twice.

She lives in a long-lost village,
Submerged within that lake,
And when a poet’s heathen-set
His soul she gets to take.

I thought his sword rescinded,
A thrush his throat well-caught,
Ripple-effects reverted,
Silent as a corpse.


Book Of Kells

Icicles thawed on a windowsill
While snow fell freely around,
Sometimes softening skies are colder
Than six feet under ground.
Powder the keg with winter,
The dampened light has dried;
This is a song from a hinterland
Where once a curlew cried.

I am not for haunting,
We walk with heads bowed down,
Snowfall is resounding,
Church bells not long silent,
Insular majuscule art.