Looking Glass

Mistaking a neighbour’s
two-stroke strimmer
for another trapped bee –
one more season’s reck –

it too duped this side
of fingered glass panes –
just another easy
summertime error

I lifted a cold blackbird –
paw-rolled after impact
with that same window –
taking it from our path

to place its fragile body
under a pile of cracked tiles
from your tipping stack –
kept for future breakages

And later that day my neck
was burnt by sunlight hours
away from your sad spite –
that which has me crash

headlong into double-glazing
and collapsing on paving –
Another easy mistake –
not applying sun protection

 

The Naval Architect

My eyes roll on a direct path
to my right hand – they always have –
ever since Dad primed my sight
to command made out lines

from a lightly held pen – or pencil –
across unforgiving drawing paper
for hours of inked-in absorption
and detailing – a hatched addiction

His small blue police notebooks
received judges’ commendations
for his architect’s uppercase script
and capture by diagrams of details

A ship’s profile was our introduction
with fore and aft guns and funnels
and his low voice-over was part
of my art class at our kitchen table

I make my living with that degree
passed by his mastery of capture
I am drawn from my father’s centre –
also without any qualification

Ashpan, Texas

Your waking place
is a hollow-man’s town
with vacant homes
close to falling down

and solar-curled paint
peeling inside out
No drapes to draw –
only shadowed shrouds

That un-slept place
is your reading room –
all indexed resources
were wordlessly removed

There’s spines – there’s covers –
but no truth in sight
A baying Governor
set writ words alight

They say work’s returning
although don’t know what
They’ll be whispering lies
until you thumb your vote

Your feared sun sits low
but it left life peeled –
stealing a glossed layer
from that you had sealed –

taking your hours’ labours
with an eye-cut brush –
torching your hand of care
Your town is burning up

 

Furze

They grew low gorse
alongside their homes to
thorn-tie bright laundry
under drying high winds

Clym cut back high furze
and disappointed his wife

It is a rough plant for sure
but promises – or removes –
depending on your view –
kisses by force of fashion

It was an uncrossable border
in my common land youth

There was a story of a man
recovered from a thorny whin
by a coastguard helicopter –
help waved down by his hand

Furze flowers were yellow pebbles
for insects to skip between

It was my first time on Ashdown
in a too long time – and bared
gorse was my quiet surprise –
We have lost natural assurances

We once knew a season’s place
by month-ends and blossoming

 

Also here: Places of Poetry