Trying to finish the last tasks before heading off to take part in the ACEEPT workshop next week. We needed a bit of encouragement, so of course I volunteered to play the clown for a few moments.
Hawthorned dunes. Withering ferns.
Taste of salt-speckled wind
and the blood of rusty winches.
Trees leaning East, abraded,
veterans of a tug war. Beach rose
flaunting endless successively
ripening victories, an invasion welling over
the edge of the land, to the heart beat
of the church bell proudly still standing.
Hare one moment. Gone the next. Ears
bobbling over the path, and under the orange
burning bush against the lead of the sky.
Down the right corner of my
sanded eyes – a pheasant!
Helicopter of sound, away,
then sideways. Stuttering my mind.
Pulse like turn of tide. Breathless.
Then another! Dull dragonfly
against a painful yellow backdrop.
As I gather my sensitivities,
regain cosmopolitan clarity,
proceding with caution
up a small flight of winded steps
– another attack of flack and flutter
as the third one passes close
before diving away from on-marching
invasions of my boots.
Fungi, falling leaves,
floating among swans.
Frozen feast of flaming
Flailing, forged in disbelief.
Shades of grey, strands of age,
bones sighing in the dim light of morning.
Shush, don’t tell death
how I am shamelessly soaking in life.
How would you feel
if we went back
to when the cold dew
in the long grass
gave you a stabbing cramp
in your ankles
just like too-cold water
and fear do?
How would you feel
if we returned slowly
to a time when the hay-like
heyday of fresh linen sheets
like the flat iron heating
the sunkissed skin and
the book shelves
all reminded us of
tea with milk
and buns hot out of the oven?
Can we go there this Sunday
barefeet and bored
pretending to be in heaven,
like good little angels
staying in bed all day with the rain
running down the windows
making us feel like goldfish inside
an aquarium. Can we?
If I tug on your sleeve like an impatient
bad-mannered, hopelessly romantic
child, please, can we go back?
I remember I had a parrot then, too.
Along the rugged line of sand
the black teeth of the groynes
protrude, and guard the strip of land.
A pirate smiles, purloins…
The cliff is frowning at the sea,
the taste of salty tears
the church, the anchor, cannot flee
– it won’t be many years
until the graves they made on land
– with lichen-covered stones they stand –
will join the crushing waves that ate
the ones of lesser fate.
Thistle-haired and hungry
as your gnarled hand clasps
clenches, chokes the change.
Clouds tear in staccato time-lapse,
well up and whip down,
second, season, century, shame.
After the bursting of your eyes,
Prying into the despair
of wounds healing,
like a face in ice.
we part with the purple.
And the wine.
Stubbornly oblivious to the decaying earth
the sky is practising a display of blue and fluff
beyond the red tiles, the green of the tree tops
clings to the horizon, lighter with each leaf
each acorn they drop until
the transparency of their swaying meditation
lets the rhythm of their breath
be the rhythm of the wind
and the translucency of a canopy
harbours the shade of a memory
while all things reach, while falling,
for a last frail second of suspence
before mellowing, moulding, merging
with the ground while there is still time
before the great sleep, the grating, grinding pause
of plausible applause and pinpointed pining of firs…
Today, the blue sky is already a memory.
Yesterday, it was a omen.
In 6 months, nothing is left but a rough sketch
in coal, snow and canvas – of a snowdrop
against a homecoming colour
quite like this.