Friday, July 04, 2008
It's that time again! I've been doing some editing. Some are totally re-written, some just tidied up a little. Plus one new, never-before-seen DVD extra poem! Here!
No gulls haunt the horizon, unadvancing,
Unreceding, a line that hides its riches in
Its folds; constellations orient my view.
The sea soon learns to hoard loam and flot and barm –
Protective filters from the light – to turn obscure,
Safe, dulling the full reflection of the moon
Into torn bandage ribbons waxing, waning
Over sable molten glasswork that encircles
This vessel. I watch reflections touch my feet,
Fill my lungs, my eyes; I meet its gaze at last.
I regret this. Minerva, Pallas Athene,
Queen of grey-eyed purity in this black and
White serenity. Her eyes were often blue;
More likely they were simply indescribable.
Tonight the feeling is not so Greek to me.
Edit edit edit
The Island House
A cricket rubs its legs, wild percussion
Close to the house; close to the house
Are silent valleys and crazy-form mountains –
Slieve More – big mountain; Knockmore – big hill.
Hives on the arms are tattoos of honour,
Though the houseflies’ days are numbered;
They emerged, days later, from behind the curtain,
Overdosing on the quiet peace of the living room.
Over the fence, the donkeys tear grass free
With blunted teeth. There is space to hear breathing,
Air brushing cold between the lips,
Steady silent prayers to the island.
A vesperal flare in the reddening night,
Curled on the floor, half-naked, we lie
To each other, beautiful half-truths, delight
Daubed freely across the northern sky.
Drifting for now, asking nothing but the world
Leave us, all fingertips and tales,
Sun-fled and tight-lipped, too fleetingly held
To the warm, dull thud, too livid and pale.
We have long overslept as rainfall returns
Us our respective lives. We fight but concede,
And memory directs a distinctive reprise
As our parts are usurped, sensationalised
In Merchant-Ivory grayscale, the starring leads
In an alien picture. Unheeded sorrow burns.
At mountain’s peak, I stayed a while.
The pines rolled out to vanishing point,
In sanguine breathless stubbornness,
Shouldering neighbouring canopies
That hold in line the skyways and
Sanctuaries now strewn to the four corners.
Verdant canvas of vital greens.
On mountain’s side, I climbed ahead:
Massive fauna reminisce,
Serene and solid, delving deep
Into moss-stained soil, carbon
Engravings dwarfing my hands.
At mountain’s foot, my fire, ablaze
Beneath browning kettles, I hold
My pilgrim’s victual, bathed in embers’
Glow. Green bed under the clouds,
The mountain watching the pale, rising smoke.
A Staircase in a Foreign Country
It wanders up from stonework river-walls,
From the old town’s cobbled lanes
Where skateboarding kids work magic feats,
From the tourist traps and pork knees,
The sweet lager and plastic half-crowns,
A timorous, frayed-ragged stairway
That holds the best seats in the house.
No market marble coolness
In these newborn office courtyards,
No fleet-foot street artists with coterie crowds
(And no box-office) will welcome me here,
Counting the hours and watching the city’s
Heart harden. With each failed landing
I draw closer to the balcony haven.
There seems stability in these hills;
Peace at the precipice, a house of God,
Veranda over the clay-tiled canopy,
Where sunrise tries to catch my shadow
And send it out across the skyline.
Fingertip metronome counts off the beat
For skateboarders in the shimmer of dawn.
So, Then, Tycho Brahe
On the hillside that overlooks city and sea,
I lie in your hand’s reach, nestling in
The soft grass, sheltered by branches,
Black blanket sky lit by freckles of light,
On the hillside just angled to lie and look up.
I haven’t anything to say, not really,
And the blathering stream and the bass-chorus
Owls seem more eloquent anywho, night-
Watchmen with three-sixty vision; I tell you that
I haven’t anything to say, and you’re quiet.
So I turn back to the stars, moving too slowly,
But moving, ancient light that confounded
Astronomers, fearing eccentricity, or punishment
For it, burning away their distance from God;
So they turned back on the stars, and you squeeze my hand.
If truth is heresy, Brahe can hardly be blamed
For his universe model that set sun and Mars
Toward fiery discourse – I say, and you smile.
Perhaps I imagine the peace in your eyes.
I can hardly be blamed if truth is relevant.
Errantium syderum – wandering stars
That threw the world into error, only needed
Correction, but correction eternal.
The tent-bed is warm on the hillside.
Mountains and skyline, errantium syderum.
The valve turns, and releases cold and graceful
Sleep, though night fell long ago.
Daffodils circle the tree, March-blossoming,
Standing in stubborn fealty against squall and shower
For a spirit that has shed its need for dead places
With the vigil-keeping foxgloves in the garden.
Satellites and transmitters shrink the open country
And open sea to the space between mouth and ear.
Ethereal baritone braving midnight storms,
Undaunted by distance, bringing news from
The garden to my hands. The daffodil in my fingertips
Braces to the wind that blew over foxgloves, miles away.
The day-old sun caught the spinning edges
Of the Diablo, reddened the white masquerades
Of the Marceau-faced jugglers, settled and
Lingered in the fallen haze of the evening.
I dodged crowded faces, screaming and vomiting,
And stood in silence like a sole grave-visitor
Beneath the canopies and curtains that climbed
Into the twilight, eclipsing what brightness remained;
The neon bar-lights stirred, wakened, hot-
Buzzing with lures that left burns on the eyes.
The raven-haired harlequin half-danced
Among puddles now gilded by humming streetlamps
In the anaesthetising gloom, ridding
Your strange flesh of what few flaws there were.
Green hair in spotlight, tawny eyes of cold
Silver: Indias of spice enlightened in your blood.
Last order of honey-wine quite gently tipped
Its hat in esteem of my wettening shoes.
Coins became yellow blossoms, enchanted
By the gold and silver cloth of the circus awning.
Flying in from Glasgow on the eighteen-fifty
To Aldergrove; out through the thick-glassed window
The frayed knuckles of coastline, reaching out with gnarled hands
Beyond the fallow piebald farms, swooping and diving
A thousand feet below. The sun touches the horizon
With a feathered fingertip, hissing as it meets
The waves, settling in for the night under a blanket of
Flourescent algae, the unfathomable sea-dreams of fish.
I wait to be informed of our descent, patient angel
Entranced by rolling breakers, snow-white foam,
Trying to feel something. Awe. My grandfather flew
Once a month to his work in Scotland, leaving his
Son and wife in the capital, watching the sky.
My wings melt as the black cliffs drift into view.
Thanks for reading,