Shipping Forecasts

We will struggle for storm names
and typhoons will be numbered
in the Northern Territories

We will enjoy sequential weather
and buy rain and shade covers
in equal measure for such events

Extremes will be downgraded to normal
They will re-define old tide charts
re-draw shorelines and flood plains

But we will suffer drought and wildfires
through months of cracks and widenings
without the squibs of English summers

From across the channel tiny migrants
will swarm in the blown air to find succour
among failing crops in Kent’s dry garden

We will struggle with Biblical excesses
and nature in the new ways of weather
which we will not be able to name

The Bird Table

That waking ear-fill of true birdsong –
as if found – was in truth brought on
by my flickknife choice – by my cutting
at connections to streams and channels
full of self-satisfied chattering

My re-designed distance from others
is freeing me from time’s smother –
to clear air and breath – no misty poisons –
no more breathing in expunged words –
those wonder curls of sour exhalations

We had massed – no more pas seul
for crumbs – to sip at our shitted-in pool
of held rainwater and waded warm piss –
We were fattened on sour disturbances
which festered as their offered titbits

making us so sick – so we did not dare –
there – to old wintering in the warm air –
instead – we consumed – I am unable
to make it to your shared high place –
I am off – I no longer feed at your table

Finding Signs

There is a languageless rule to reading puddles –
to understanding such first-glance nothingness –
their impossible silences before trod-in signage –

a gauging of place – now – by such offered inches –
ones dredged by tyres – those in unfettered lees –
below busied hedgerows – there held evergreen

against all buffettings – such pleshes can guide
you when compass-less – a small-ish understanding of
nearby prevailing wind helps to fix your position –

known conditions assist in your marking a route
by each reading – taken – it will give you knowledge
not spoken to others from your stared-at puddles –

and flooded plough trenches – and by potholes –
by rain dropping – as storm-clock worked droplets –
and of damage done by such small repetitions

over time – as nature finds less is left natural –
then you will need a new sign language
to name each stranger season of weathering –

whilst you struggle – again – to pass your folklore
without old landscapes to bind your tired stories –
as floodwater-and-thirst rise to alter all readings –

except those re-told by your oldest survivors
of what they saw before – in muddy gatherings –
their earliest evidence of man’s impact on earth –

as Robinson attested – as he circled heel-and-toe
on virgin sand – to find a matching disappointment
in himself at marks he made – huge ramifications


Latitude

Our eucalyptus tree
is now my distant
Australia –
Our olive tree
is now my recent Israel
and in-between –
in our English garden
of other imports –
our thirsty plants
look more suited
to wetter climates –
they limp without
the pull and whip
of overnight water –
English summers
play redefined dates
of season starts
and season-ends –
They struggle whilst
the olive and eucalyptus
bear climate changes –
as if born to the latitude


 

A Forecast

There will be a cold sluggishness –
not known since those tardy days
of queued-at red telephone boxes –

impatient lines still in that set chill
after autumn – which was in place
and felt raw ’til the following April

We kids constructed six-foot slides
by compaction and then an ironing
of the snow into break-neck ice sheets –

We knew how to travel back then
with flagged arms and slightly bent knees
and how to scream so bloody loud

We were tough – proved by bruises
under bloodied flaps of cotton and skin –
met by back door shouts and clipped egos –

admonished and shamed – sent to strip off –
to be hot-bathed by inherited remedies
of soap and TCP – but limited sympathy


 

#BlackFriday

I crumpled – again – this morning –
with the endless news – which I cradled –
still warm – in my left hand –
then this unplugged device dimmed
to save on power usage

I stroked the sempiternal story
with a stiff finger – re-lighting it –
the act of scrolling – like teasing skin
with love’s lightest of touches
to bring a waking company to life

My roll-over nights of trickled
sweat-streams will be re-stoked –
Reuters reports of more kinds
of fucks – of over-heated ice
washing from those off-white poles

They now count the last of a species
on one hand – measuring the missing
in thin percentages – filling media inches –
which shift plastic – that advertised crap –
I crumple with such endless news

#ExtinctionRebellion

You stood together
deep and wide enough
to stop cars from crossing
London’s tarred bridges –
leaving the delayed
Fucking! at your solemn belief
whilst blocking the concrete
arteries which cross and re-cross
that leaden slug – the Thames –
But the oil-soaked rags –
those still-connected papers –
only reported the traffic chaos

#extinctionrebellion
#RebellionDay

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

Out of the Woods

The soil is dry and compacted
under the last threadbare fall

The laggard stream clogs
between the dropped branches

The cow parsley – and others –
stand as unpicked summer fossils

The weighty berries tease
among sharpened brambles

August should now stutter
into the slow rot of Autumn

But that immigrant heatwave
has not shifted from us

The seasons are so confused
by our greedy interference.

Eclipse

I danced my weight home
to a no-eclipsed Moon
whilst reports of Her crimp
were reduced – removed

Her amber qualities
here timely-abused
by a shifted Earth’s
slow sun-spun cruise

As we sweat into sleep
and tug on warmed fear
please pray for a God
who will rain on us tears

If no good will fall
on our field-wide droughts
then pray to the Devil
for floods to drown doubts

Expect little beauty
in this high hemisphere –
whilst long winds spin
the clouds quite queer

And if all such plans
only map out to dust
then take to the lake beds
and imagine them lush

Drink the low waters
which form as warm pools –
but do not imbibe
the next epoch of fools.

Early Rising

I let the cool air in over the parquet floor –
my temporary mistress for these few hours
before the sun fucks her rude heat
back into our brick and glass box

I said we’d need blinds to counter this
warming of the morning face of the house
But my pronouncements were stale –
like unpalatable coffee breath kisses

In the room without windows we had sheltered
from the fallout of this sky-dropped summer –
there for an evening of radiation off the TV
which in itself fed the ice-threatening heat

At this hour the bedooms are containers
of the sheet-shoved and half turned over –
where the poorly slept bodies simmer
and adjust to itched consciousness

It is only five o’clock but the sun has risen
at this point on the turned earth’s surface –
Soon there will be words about the weather
and requests to fix the sprinklers will be made

Beachcombing

On the shingle-driven beach – I looked for shells – but found plastic

We are no more the guardians because everything we use returns

The indicant we find is a tide mark of oil-based products

As kids – we looked for rare treasures after the waves had retreated

Mermaids’ purses and seaweed – our stolen weather stations

The currencies of beachcombing are no longer nature’s ways

 

E221018

Fall

Almost December
and this bit
of our northern hemisphere

is being tricked by the
man-made warmth
into putting feelers out
from within

the false Spring which catches
too keen lifeforms and me

I am over dressed for
these modern Novembers

The Hunt

Hunt down the ragged fox,
reduce our long-earned rights,
set dogs upon the immigrants,
claimants should be denied‘:

Praise The Mail’s honesty,
share their Photoshop of lies,
become a born-again Christian,
to fight off Islamic cries.

Bitch about striking workers,
and ‘those sponging socialists‘,
stand up for the landed wankers
whose shined brogues you long to kiss:

Now you are a Conservative,
voting for returning to the past,
you will fight them on the beaches
once our borders return to France.

And as your vast shares in disaster
push tides and break up skies,
your pension fund will collapse,
and your children will ask you: ‘Why?’

Field Work

I write this, aching from my simple effort,
now bench-propped, on Luxford Field,
with car shunts and engine revs behind me,
then killed, still, replaced (for now) by birdsong.

This afternoon, under ripe end-of-March sun,
(we will judge once more with warming fears),
I wave at the future,  upright in a buggy,
trundled up the path, bobbled over lifted roots.

And then the farcical entry of a dog shocks
the three matte pigeons, and a shined rook,
which lift away, leaving the expanse empty,
untimely, far too early for the annual fair,

it’s arrival to be rung by the hammering of pegs.
That fun, on this field, is still a drought away,
until then there will be the scattering of litter,
couples snogging, and teenagers swigging.

But today, with this lunch hour to be consumed,
and low warmth enjoyed, the town joins me
in the old art of laying, uniform, on the grass;
one skill which we were taught well at school.


 

The Last Frost in Sussex

the-last-frost


08:24. I am touching the last of a cold God,
over unevens, under unornamented woods,
now contained by us – for the good of all:
February over-sugared, overnight, here underfoot;
the stripped hedgerow is briefly lit, crowned
by the blinding hour, those umber-dipped
high stick fingers touch the very last of His
visible burnt presence.

Along the raised path, the short timber route,
over the flood-expected meadow, a convenience
for us led dog walkers, commuters, drunkards:
It has a ship’s complaint under my over-weight,
a sea worthy distrust of unstrapped cargo,
my stick a peg leg poke across her slippery deck.

Greater tussock sedges, rare Sussex lumps of grass,
green icebergs gathered, wait for the June onslaught
of Japanese knot weed, a foreign flood in this field
after the cold-breath time has been put aside, quicker
with each warmer year. The woodpecker stopped
in Buxted. 08:32.


Degrees

It is early October, in my sixth decade,
this low sun’s heat now obfuscates:
Two score fears of Betjeman’s bombs,
aimed to rain down on everyone;

that threat, then stalled, by a melt of Cold War,
but on the horizon a more terrible storm:
MAD-placed positions offer limited balance,
but we are slow-burning this lonely planet.

My neighbour’ll not prune until her last flowers fall,
but such lore set aside, now the sun misrules.
I stand ‘bove my shadow, as sundial and god,
my presence on earth more than enough,

to have been found guilty, on my own conviction,
my residence is toxic, I shan’t be forgiven:
I return to the shade, under still-green trees,
a level walk home, up by two degrees.