tea and biscuits

they said
clear your desk you’re finished
they said
clear your desk you’re finished

he thought
should be tea and biscuits
he said
should be tea and biscuits

they said
leave pass at reception
he said
fired or resignation

they said
bloody stupid question
they said
leave pass at reception

he said
goodbye at reception
he said
taxi to the station

board read
man on line at station
voice said
delays and cancellations

nurse said
please wait at reception
they thought
awkward situation

he said
nice of you to visit
they thought
should be tea and biscuits

except

dull words in sunlight
don’t earn their place
upon a page
except that yesterday
one spark flared up
and then engaged

I was in wilderness
I was in darkness
by the sea
the world is wilderness
it will get nothing more
from me

except for everything
except for everything
and all
that’s what our purpose is
to give ourselves
and little more

headland

there will be time for reading books
and time for sitting on the grass
time for looking at the shadow cast
by the house we lived in as children

there will be time to pick up pebbles by the sea
and if that is not enough for you and me
time to wander further out than that
over to the headland where there are
flecks of light flickering
and people gathering on the beach
to look at the fallen man

but now time is nearly upon us
and things must be made ready

guillemots and herring gulls

call me from the street to play
like you used to yesterday
I have locked myself away
nothing new to say today
find me in the sitting room
sitting in the sitting room
used to be a pretty room
full of junk and old heirlooms
growing old is not worth spit
nothing works the way it did
especially the pills they give
awfully bitter pills they give
guillemots and herring gulls
have a lot more fun than us
they can peck and steal and cuss
no one ever makes a fuss
perhaps you’d only fly away
if I brought some treat your way
pretty bird don’t fly away
please don’t  ever go away
call me from the street to play
like you used to yesterday
pretty bird don’t fly away
don’t you fly away

the restaurant

table 1: a table for two

somewhere
in some far-off
corner of the earth
upon a broad green leaf
a butterfly is emerging
from the chrysalis
a glory to the world
dazzling wild
free
and that
is how it feels
to enter a crowded
restaurant – find you
at a table reading
and see there is
an empty chair
for me

table 2: a separate table

you ignored me last night
I’m ignoring you today

I’m at a separate table
a thousand miles away

shall we order?

table 3: ready to order

I won’t have a starter
I don’t eat dessert
I shan’t have a mains
I hurt hurt hurt
I can’t take rejection
but I can take a hint
just bring another bottle
and a wafer thin mint

table 4: menu

today
a stranger wore my shoes
choked down the morning news
ordered the wrong food
alone at a table for two

but it was me
who chatted to you so freely
over the menu
and died a little more
before the coffee

table 5: two types of silence

I sit alone at dinner
listening to the couple
at the next table
who hardly speak at all

you clear your throat
ask me to get the bill

there are as many
different types of silence
as there are colours
on a paint chart

probably more

here are two

table 6: table talk

two apples in a bowl
got us wondering
how we’d go

between two breaths
between two tides
before the pudding
has arrived

we were chatting
over dinner

you said
I was looking thinner

I said
rotten talk for supper
on the garden I’ll be scattered

if I have a soul at all
it falls just as the apple falls

to ground

we drank our fill
I paid the bill

a silent walk

table talk