tea with bad milk

this morning I remembered our first holiday together
on a campsite in the rain

and a fortune teller who made us tea with bad milk
before we headed home again

guilt sits upon the memory like that
unpalatable and lumpy

one is forced to grin and bear it all
then swallow politely

what the tea leaves told us
I never did recall

but bad milk floating in a cup
cannot sour what came before

crossing 2

crossing the road can be difficult
when a person is miles away

I gave the finger to someone who beeped me
only the other day

thinking that they had abused me
for being so terribly slow

it was the nice lady who gives me a lift
merely saying hello

I am probably too swift to anger
always thinking the worst

things can often get difficult
where different routes converge

ra

when I was a child
I carved my sister’s name
on the dining room table
hoping to get her into trouble

it only got me a beating from my father
who was a kindly man
but as fierce as a falcon
when meting out justice

now I have no father
and the rain here is incessant
wearing away the fabric of the house
where cattle shelter

only occasionally does the sun break through
solving nothing

the old mysteries are the best

faraway eyes 

incident in long grass
intimate lunches under bright umbrellas
whispered secrets of the heart
shimmer beneath the surface of the water

all these things and more
I would seal in jars
or put behind glass in a museum

a golden fish
I once gave as a gift
that seemed almost living

all these things and more
are in need of preserving

faraway eyes
stacked up on ice
opaque but still swimming

vellum

coffee rings
on creamy vellum

synthetic
my poetic truth

vellum from the calf
holds all the laws
passed by a parliament

weighty things

old banjo skins

coffee rings
on vellum

theft at Lyme Regis

four glass coasters
bought at Lyme Regis
when the children were young
and life was easy

life was never easy

photographing them now in sunlight
they seem fabulous beyond compare
blue from another ocean
I never knew existed 
where sea urchins devour whales
amid bubbles of aquamarine
and half-formed monsters
guard a pirate treasure hardly seen
at the time

joy passes too quickly for us to grasp
life is a bauble
a theft
don’t expect miracles
when the miracle has already passed 

lost in a sea
preserved in glass

commons

walking on the common
at an uncommon time
a dog tore through the buttercups
I knew that dog was mine

I’m glad I had a friend with me
and took it as a sign
walking on the common
at an uncommon time

crossing 

on the way back to the mainland
I met a man who said he could see angels

I dismissed this as fairytale
but he was adamant

now as dark waters of night gather in
I remember him

and realise I am still crossing

ark

I sailed out
and not a sign of songbirds
I listened to the ocean
and its mournful sway

I have made an ark of my days
no graceful vessel
but a makeshift shelter
in which to stay 

I have made a wreck of my days
and would be done with it
but an ark is a cathedral
by another name

listen to the songbirds
in the cold grey water
songbirds perch
on the endless wave

songbirds sing
in clear blue water
gentle waters
sing for day

a murmuration of starlings

we sang harsh songs to each other
made our strange movements in the shrill

air
at last descending to low complaint
that found no forgiveness

anywhere
I would have painted grass green for you
my heart forever

scorned
now can’t paint sky without cloud
nor put sun there to offer

warmth
hard to reconcile as evening gathers in

only a child could do that
as only a child

will
the sky grows ever crazier
in bewildering

display
a murmuration of starlings that with darkness

falls away