Downfall

Downfall. pic

 

yesterday the drive was a dustbowl

throwing up swirls of fine dirt in skittish air

then overnight I woke to the sounds

of wet soldiers feet marching a tattoo

on glass and brick and stamping on the very earth

that had so recently been raised in mutiny

hot light shrieked and tore at the curtains

followed by the portentous roll of the wall of sound

clouds make as they collide, a herald for

the teeming mass of tears unleashed in war

as I lay in dry, warm peace, a double glazed

window pane away from the fray

harboured in sheets that would comfort me

until the dawn could rise and reveal

what happened without and beyond  my complacency

Yes, the soil turned by dervishes will now be tame

and the once arid landscape is now lush

in honour of the gods of the night just gone

so I look out now on a grateful scene with leaves and shoots

roots and greening grass replete

all sated by conflicts the elements dictated

now gone, moved on by angels and their laments

for casualties and needless deaths

forgetful,

 the weather marches on precipitating yet more dreams

If only war were so benign.

We are family

We are family. pic.jpg

 

All of this will go. Be gone.

I am in the dissolving instant

already dust  of the future

That text from Gilly brought it home,

how she remembered us on a patch of grass in Southbourne

and me imagining it was a pitch, a full-blown wicket

and I could score

make centuries and maiden over’s with my cousin

unaware of her sex or its implications

and now,  perhaps half a century later

I am returned by words and the memories of another person’s cache

of history to a place and a time I thought I had lost

Sometime soon I will blink and someone else will be reminding me

of where I have been

By God, is that what I get from walking the Dog

the intoxicating sense of memory unearthing scattered parts

of me

Gate House

Gate House. pic

 

some people mind

take the opportunity to sneer

to feel superior

at the man in his hut with the power

to raise or lower a barrier

that demarcates the space between

those that have

a very great deal

and those that are consigned to less

As I pass through as an invitee to a ‘do’

into the world of more

I feel unsteady, as if I am being asked

to join a club and become complicit

in a robbery

wherein the rich steal a little more

from their compatriots. The poor.

pond skaters waltz on the surface of water

ruffled by a fountain centred in an ornamental lake

as swans glide-by and fish do their mystery below

A midday sun renders warmth to shade and etches at

the silhouettes of anything that moves. Languid strokes.

All of it quite nonchalant.  Removed from caring

for the man in the hut with the power to raise a barrier

watching them all come and go from his common place

his vigilance, their shield

Some people mind

For Daf

For Daf

 

the clematis climbs in a hug

around the bushes and shrubs

and rises in a triumph around a conifer

like applause

A curtain call for this morning

while twin jet engines grind the air

on an ascending scale away from Heathrow

with a vow toward wherever it is they are promised

but down here, in our garden, I feel no resentment

not for the noise nor for those high flying dreams

because I am bound in this sumptuous scene

happy in May sunshine with cool air

on my naked skin,  newly cut grass glistening in the dew

and nothing much else to do

except perhaps to plant a kiss

on the cheek of a favoured friend

who has picked today, of all days

to celebrate

Derision

Derision. pic

‘it’s beautiful’,  he said

from the bottom of the wishing well

his eyes, intent, squirming

to find light and  traces of form

for a way out, a clue. A shape revealed.

A helix. An escape. An easy win

like the numbers on a lottery ticket

yet always they seem so distant

so not palpable. Fathoms below and miles above

 they are treasures of the rainbow. Ephemera.

 

And so he went on saying things

clutching at all forms of optimism

knowing that in truth he was going blind

as the bets were lost

All belief, beggared and lost in shallows

the words just backward utterances. Infarcts.

The light going skinny, malnourished to a fade

so grey and white that winter would muscle in

even into this empty spring

from which, when he looked up

he saw death with petals in his eyes

and the earth, a crust at their rims

So many scattered things