These days

 

It should be enough the sun

the languid whistling of the birds

heat rising from baked earth and green shimmer

 

enough to rise with the heat

on birdwings lifting languid and serene in the sun

from green earth

 

they should be green with birdsong

these hot days dusty

with harvest motes floating golden birdwings

 

there should be joy after rain shafts

slanting steely cold

from lowering skies

 

when we listened to the rattle of hail

the splash of torrents

and a wind raging from the east

 

it should be enough the sun

the unconscious beauty of the warbler’s song

the ripple of heat breeze and leaf hiss

 

but these days it is not enough

to lift the heavy wings

the flutter leaden with rain

and all the little sorrows

sing soft and low.

When?

 

When will there not be anguish that curls

in restless coils in the deep dark of flesh,

never still, sleeping the sleep of cats?

 

When will the day just grow in its own time

at the pace of cloud and wind, not ticking

to the hollow rhythm of deadlines?

 

Sky spreads high blue, so dense it leaves

smears in the meadow; shadows beneath

the trees flicker with wings and fluttering songs.

 

No calm falls when the wind

blows, and the snake shifts,

and the clock ticks.

 

Only in sleep does it stop,

the nagging amorphous fear

of failure, unhappiness, disappointment;

 

only because we hope, is the edge always

just before our feet, the cliff yawning, and beneath,

the ocean pounding on grinning rocks.

 

 

From dusk to morning

 

Deer are barking

across the setting sun

a world apart

 

through the long grass

snake glides

climbs the fig tree biblically

taking the slender boughway

over the hedge top

 

in the path

yellow feathers strewn

midnight feast

 

oriole flutes an elegy

for lost kindred

in the gold of morning

 

small corpses

cat-kill

laid by the path

an offering to the night fox

are gone by morning

 

On waking

 

Something feels flat, empty,

sucked dry,

the light dull,

 

yet the air dances

through the open window

with the sound of birdsong.

 

The sweet smell of hay

sings thrush-loud,

mown gold.

 

Year after year the same

sights, sounds, smells,

and the waking is getting harder;

 

something is sucked dry,

a loss, a regret, a sadness

too deep and diffuse to grasp,

 

a fish slipping through clumsy fingers,

the flash of wings,

gone before the bird was real.

Note to a father

 

I didn’t think about you much today,

the triangulation parents/child has shifted

to another father and other children.

 

I am on the other side of the divide now,

allied with a father. Yet on the evening

of this day, when I have thought of my own man,

 

and his children have thought of their father,

I see your face, hear your sonorous voice,

and the years slip away into insignificance.

Privilege

spring clouds

I wandered lonely as a

woman wandering alone

amid the bustle of an exclusive life.

 

Beneath the stalks

stalk things unseen to me and mine,

the flat-feet

 

who blunder by,

leaving footprints, carbon and otherwise,

on the bodies of the unseen and unheard.

 

She wanders lonely,

even when she is not alone,

just on the other side of a comforting veil,

 

treading flat-footed,

hands over her ears

to keep out the screaming.

Sun and stars

 

Sun strokes the stalks

bowed beneath the deluge

touches tips with golden glory

 

ebbing tide tugs

on the reins of racing rain clouds

and calm returns

 

in the hour of sunset

sun slip sliding beneath the blue

turquoise turning

 

deeper as the dark draws down

the wave-whisper of aeons of sea-space

scattered with stars

 

and at the last lingering of the light

a lone thrush enthrals the listener

with the echo of eternity.

World is water

 

World is water falling splashing

lashing with steel whips

(drips) bough and stalk

 

the clouds cold wrath

frothing in over-spilling streams

gleams darkly

 

battleship grey they throng

songs of thunder in their hearts

(starts the drum roll)

 

From over-spilling eyes

skies pour an ocean to float the blue-buoyed earth

and still

 

birds trill and sing

fling all their hearts in open-beaked song

as long as there is a pulse to thrill the blood.