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

Fixings

A bare bulb hangs by two wires
over the bathroom mirror
as a reminder of his absence
with that unfinished fitting

I walked between the rooms he built
and am now that rare ghost
having flown back to my home
of other incomplete projects

The future is never reached
as we flounder with tools to build
our small palaces and shrines
in which we wander on our way to die

A Wall

Each imperial brick length
required malodorous acid
to be dippled, slow-brushed

(avoiding the old lime mortar),
applied to each unpainted face,
covering the exposed wall:

“Up, tight as possible,” she said.
“Right to the [recently plastered
and whitewashed] ceiling.”

My red canvas was four yards wide
(an old measure, antique, in keeping
with the building’s Edwardian lines).

I laboured, bent more, for a day,
etching with those rarely-exercised
dug out tools:

A paint scraper, a black hammer,
a quite unsure stepladder,
and two inherited wire brushes;

that last pair kept
over forty years to remind me
I am not the practical son.