Pablo

I wasn’t looking for Picasso
but I found him – seated –
whilst my Spanish was poor
his English was gilded

Please – Monsieur Picasso
Call me Pablo – he gestured
at the world and her wife –
Could I ask you one question?

He looked me up and down –
sized for a suit – or a kiss?
Maybe eyeing my fixed shape
for his oiled redress?

Was it – ‘Inspiration will come,
but it must find you working?’
Or – ‘Inspiration exists,
but it has to find us working?’

His eyes were hard marbles –
set polished and buffed –
I was stroked by his gaze –
those eyes were his touch

which re-set the truth
which now took me down –
Realmente importa?
A smile then a frown

He loosed a curled dove –
his brush was speaking –
‘Inspiration exists –
but it has to find you working’

The Blinded

The olfactory hit kicks in –
smelling at a filed return
of youthful tree climbing –
of guns-made-from-sticks
and of our lumpen crashing
among swallowing bracken

I am now drawing so deeply
on this propel of perfumes –
of the under-tree rotten scents –
and also taking the shaded chill –
which seems to feed the smell –
which was the first suggestion

My childhood – found in the kernels
of peeled sweet chestnuts –
was so open-ended that nothing
was going to set a conclusion –
Then on to the unexpected
cinder path – where it ends – again

This Older Driver

I want our lowering sun to burn
for a much – much – longer last hour –
or more – and brighter than now

I do not want to be driving
on those sunken country roads
into the skulk of dusk’s gloom –
and then turned back through black

I wish to see clearly tonight where
the patch of tarmac starts and ends
on the threaded bends and turns –

without the switch of dipped lights
or the blinding others’ high beams –

they set me to groping
as a blind man gropes

I’ll weave between the unseen deer

British Summer Time

Do not turn back the clocks
unless you have the time
to reset your circadian rhythm
and so to fall into line

The Leavers love the thought
that Europe will end this game –
so that Britain will reverse
to a different time again

Perhaps revisiting 1916
and war-footings everwhere –
The cowards will stay in Britain
because Europe is over there

White feathers for the three –
for Gove – Johnson and Mogg –
may they seek some forgiveness
from the dead who fought for love

And in the spring in England –
as good times rush to leave –
those rotters on the omnibus
won’t stand by lies they weaved

Turns

I returned the ripped heart
of Saint Laurence O’Toole –
canonised post-mortem
for acts whilst entombed

As Archbishop Lorcan
he acted well in hair shirts –
and in shroud-wrapped death
he performed miracle parts

Another found-reliquary –
I gave it back to the nuns
Religion is theatre –
but it’s not the West End

This Parish

We stick to the leaf-kicked route –
a parting of the dry sea of leaves
cleared by dog-following boots –

We tack down its meandered drop
to the time-softened abyss –
plugged not by God – but drains –

where a watercourse once hollowed
the hillside into this shallow dean –
before the slugs of tarmac upstream –

Here the irregular plots of silver birches
ignore the fallen old lady in lime green –
this is the parish of ineffectual giants –

these natives – a copse within the woods –
are a finger-daubed fearful tribe in white –
chary – waiting – as if standing ready –

listening for the infected invaders
from other places – for intruders
who will bring other such followers

to spread the canker and pestilence –
which was not the way things changed –
not until we changed the weather

For a Pot of Paint

The tall bay window
is our empty white frame –
on the front of this home
of unshuttered shame –

but now winter-battered –
past my amateur repair –
the paint has flaked off
through changes out there –

The weather has whipped it
in layer-thrashed strokes –
like the blistered hull
of a forgot-turned boat –

with a peeled underbelly
for so long undressed –
it has been left unsealed
losing sea-worthiness

No sensible man
would sail in her –
he would never return –
she is so unfair

Hangover

There is an almost mist of ghostly off-loadings –
like pellucid Nan Tuck – or the long-lost Lord Lucan
My night now haunts me as a half-recalled dream

I breathe and count steps – taught by Seneca’s NHS –
Let only your body wander – don’t admit useless thoughts
The dog bounds due east in her leaps at life’s time

Unseen from overhead I’m no more standing – erased
under glances of passenger lists –
I am lost in the skinned canopy’s leaf-bare branches

I am then ducking below berry-weighted evergreens –
where the temperature drops by one or two degrees –
and still the weakened sun scathes my misted wine eyes

In the Eye

Women slip from winsome
under their senescent faces –
their hands steal the looks
off youth’s eyed-embraces –

They pleasure in pastimes
of tease-tricks and flirts –
they command your heart –
their hard rules will subvert

I want to reach out
and trace your lined beauty –
of furrows and laugh lines
worn freely at forty

I will kiss your eyelids
of stitch-tightened skin –
because here is your beauty –
it is still within

Naming Rights

Should I give a name
to those stolen logs
and breaks of wood
which were dragged
and then laid in place
in the muddiest parts
of our dipping routes?

They span the indents –
the heel-suck puddles
in the uneven paths –
Not bridging boughs
too stepping stones
I will leave it now to
a far greater authority
to find the best thing
to fill that word space

#bbcqt

Hear pile-up politics in a thick lathered buzz –
Question Time’s audience is a scream-streamed TX

Almost over-directed for a hyped-up reception –
Our screens are re-tuned to TV’s deception

Below the radar into our licensed homes –
finding the softest – in our sofa-slumped zones –

Some people will toss their floating votes –
they’ll re-tune held views via the set-top box

to long-lost frequencies of old-school racists –
an angry audience with their for-TV faces

October Half Term

The paths were soft under me today
although this low sun is still capable
of tricking the insects into revival –
setting off a dragonfly over the bridge
and pulling late flowers from pods

until the quick slaughter of an early frost
will clear our compound of anxieties
for the seasons – those off-kilter fears
which are felt as warmth on the skin –

At such a late time of year – she says
to her friend over steam-lifting coffees –
I rest my stiff legs under the cafe table –
I feel no quiver of guilt at the dried mud
which is the hardened path to my seat

The Impatient Plant

The Himalayan Balsam’s scent
clogs – a laundry swill of smells –

lingering – invasive – out-of-place –
underlining the call to action –

Since its foolish introduction
it’s no longer welcome here

Almost sticky – swollen with pollen –
it waits with near-primed seeds

until it fires ripe-wide explosions
finding further incursions

Balsam Bashing – its removal –
is now a nationwide fixation –

The bent stem-cutters – the pullers –
are impatient traditionalists

who tug – with gardening gloves –
working hard at their final solution

Repose

The granite markers have tipped forward –
angled over the settling of in-filled earth
where the boxes and bones collapsed –
the stones remain whilst other things fall –

The once beloved’s burial is long forgotten –
but not the slab’s patience over centuries
of bearing – the carved words mumble
a worn-down remembrance of years lived –

The mason’s refined font is rubbing thin –
almost erased by the wear of the world
which has re-touched the carved surface –
even death cannot claim shelter from time

Disputed Questions of Truth

Aquinas floats in his grave
and Socrates will not swallow –
their thoughts have been inverted –
their words are sounding hollow

A strategia della tensione
is courted by the State –
those clowns in the Senate
will let their votes bring hate

Salvini is banning love –
he cracks his sharpened tongue –
as his men buff their batons
to swipe the foreign sons

He’s shutting corner shops early –
the dens of drugs and plots –
he refuses ships safe harbour –
those boats which bear the lost

The different are set to suffer
as Salvini cracks his whip
on the skin of migrant settlers
who had found their hope in risk

The borders close on promises
as the ports are mopped of tears –
the Far Right drops the barriers
to block their far-right fears