Saturday, 31 August 2013

Take Me

Take me on your ship,
your ship of the mad,
away from dry land,
away from all these people
so happily lost inside their nothings,
so happily piling their belongings,
gathering in corners like dust and old skin,
a monument to indifference of life's flair.

Take me away into the night's blue horizon
where stars lip the curvature of space,
away from the bottom of this empty ocean
full of hermits in shells of their own making.
Give me a mountain and a doorway
with no hinge; give me fire hot enough to 
transfigure ore, warm enough to keep
this core turning over, and turning over

like a perpetual engine, or a pendulum.... 
Take me from this nonsense, and hand me love.
Give me love that is as simple as a carved wooden
figurine, as clear as a glass of spring water
held to the light; as clean as a pre-industrial, plains night,
central time, the backbone of the universe sprawling
above me, the Milky Way streaking through the pines. Give me 
your heart, let me carve my name on it. Give me 

the courage to hand mine to you. Give me a message in rock to be hewn.
Hand me a writ to care for you. Take me, arms wide: let me be true.

Friday, 30 August 2013


I have just shut the door to this small room,
shutting the cat and his mewing in with me,
the budgerigar next door making mock-human noises,
the Coronation Street omnibus playing away
to my quiet mother.

I have shut the door because
I want to be alone with you, in this thought:
the other night, near sleep, I considered
what it might be like
if you were someone else, and
I did not know you:

what it would be like 
if I saw your small mottled eyes,
that mousy face of yours,
somewhere between peaceful and despondent,
peeping strangely out at me
from a crowd;

if I noticed those filmy, watery globes, that 
gorgeous smile you wear when you're amused,
that gorgeous little smile that hides your quirky teeth,
that gorgeous little smile that caps your silent tongue
which works away wordlessly, but not wordless, behind 
closed doors, producing works of great beauty and great import,

if I saw your eyes, curtained with those long dreamy lashes,
I would want to come over to you and talk to you,
because I have noticed you - unlike how you
do not notice yourself. I would want to comfort you.
I would want to ask you where you come from
and what the weather is like there.

But I do know you, and, as such,
I know what the weather is like where you come from.
It is always sunny. And it is always raining.
And the clouds sweep like cobwebs through the sky.
And you stand there, alone in a field, golden sun like honey on your face,
rain like wool weaving you into the washed landscape.

I could paint you, now, standing there.
But what I would rather do is step into the picture with you,
hold you, sit there with you, drenched and sunned, blown dry
in the gentle wind, lie down with you in the grass,
survey, and say, "Yes, here is where we will build our house. 
Yes, here is where we will make our bed. Yes."

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

That's Why She's Beautiful

She has the eyelashes of a cow
and the walk of a moose,
and she's more threatening
than a water-going goose.

Some of you might think those metaphors mad
or completely mean - completely spleen.
But cows are most beautiful, in my eyes:
their long lashes frame reflected country scenes,
they seem to smile as they go about
their bovine business, just chewing things.

And moose are more stark
and more sudden
than lightning at a picnic.
See one standing at the side of a road,
pure presence, and you'd swerve to avoid it,
but, panicked, it would flee
into the evergreens.

And geese, swans, other water fowl,
angels of that nature - they deceive with their
peaceful nullity, all feathers and neck
and beak. Don't mess with a goose
if you don't want to be knuckled
with a bite, a father's belt buckle,
wooden spooned by a flustered mother.

But she's a bird that doesn't bite.
And she's a moose that doesn't run.
She's a cow that always smiles - 
the modest cow with the beautiful eyes.
She's a maiden not belied with false compare:
every fiber's her hair, every nail is her own,
every thought is a dandelion scattering seed.

And that's why she's beautiful:
she's a lioness, but not fearful.
And that's why she's beautiful.
She's a hippo and she's cheerful.
And that's why she's beautiful:
because she is perfectly natural,
only natural, nothing concealed.
And that's why she's beautiful.

Sunday, 18 August 2013


I sometimes feel I am a ghost
walking inside the bones
of one who is long dead.

Shuffling through white supermarkets
only in body,
my spirit above me
on a higher plane,
or resting quietly
in some pristine glade
where children go to play
with dragonflies,
and lovers laugh,
their eyes tied.

But I am not Keats;
I face twenty-first century feats.
I shall not die
before I am twenty-six,
and there's no time
to live out in the sticks
when the world's encroaching
like a lion's maw
and every wave
of every shore
is pounding roundly at my door.

Yes, I sometimes feel
I am living a posthumous existence.
But there's no time for silence.

We must fight for peace and not accept death:
that's how to stop this endless violence.


But maybe I am
      Han Shan
just looking for a doorway
              into the mountain,

or maybe I am Blake
              Heaven’s bubbling fountains.

More likely I’m me
         looking for a way
                into myself
          a way into the world,
                 a way into
         the heart of love,
   whose symbol
                 is a marble dove.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Isn't it Self-Evident?

So now it's August, and what have I got to show for it?
Just a poem? The first of the month?

Precisely. But that's enough.

After these introductory lines, which break the water
like a rough stone, and this short stanza
explaining the first two,

comes this part, in which I explain
why you should not lose heart.

Throughout all this talk
of inner sun and poetry saving lives,
as if poetry could take a pulse reading
or put you in the recovery position,
give mouth to mouth,

there still remains the fact of my writing:
I write not to make incisions, to look deep inside
the flesh, or even to best what I'd previously
beaten out.

No. I write because it reflects
what you've given me.

I lift this poem up like a chalice,
like a drunken madman commandeering a trophy,

'Look! Look what she's given me! This poem is her!
It's her flesh! It's her body! She breathes creativity
into me! She puts life, like light, into my cosmos!'

And as I stand there in my loose robes
and sandals, like Nietzsche gone mad
at the flogging of a horse,

you realise now that here comes the bathos.
The part where I let out the wind.
The part where everything unwinds
back down to ugly reality.

But you'd be fooled. You're in your room again, sure
(I don't know if you even left, in flight),
but now you can see the small incandescent core

of metaphor. And it's a simple truth:
I care deeply for you,
as one human being for another.

Care is the core of the human.
And the core of the human is love.

So now, when you exit your room
and you leave your house,
just think,

someone cares for me.

And knowing that you realise that

is enough for me to see
that you too care for me.

And never before
was a person so sure
he should end a poem
with a smiley.