the coat

he disliked the coat he had been given
but wore it because he had no other

it had been made with love
and given with love

but only when it was worn through
did he learn to love it himself

the jar

I found an old jar in her kitchen
that for long had remained unused

it was like one I remembered from childhood
that I used to cling on to

the trees in my mother’s garden were many and beautiful
though she lived in a small apartment
by the sea

of the silent guest at her table
she would talk to her family

yes the trees in my mother’s garden were beautiful
but the jar
I threw into the sea

of the silent guest at her table
the sea has no memory

maw

my pieces should have gone to post this morning
to give me any chance to win a prize
but now the rain worries at my window
and I have turned to stone and cannot rise

and the raindrops on the lattice sit
like silent choristers holding lights
knowing there is no one to sing to
and no day but only night

when we first came here
we could see fields
and a copse in the form
of an all embracing circle

now there is only the deep cleft
into which everything has collapsed

the earth swallows its own
in an all-consuming maw

and yawns

parcels from Italy 

when I was a boy
I would receive

parcels from Italy
quite regularly 

books
I could not read

clothes
too small for me

maternal greetings
fripperies

now I miss them 
infinitely 

synapse

he thought about the little bay
where they had taken the children on holiday
and where he hadn’t been as happy
as he should have been

and he remembered holidays
with his own father
that brought him up with a jolt
like an electric current

connections occur across a tiny space
a synapse

or the passage of many years

now like a couple in separate rooms
he was out of kilter with himself

sleep couldn’t come too soon

lighter 

the old man had lost something
of inestimable worth
more precious than he could ever say

now his burden felt a little lighter
a little lighter
as he went upon his way

(first posted 3 Feb. 2016)

scratch marks 

after the dust broke
I hardly spoke to anyone

but took my relative to a psychoanalyst 
and while he hung about outside 
skated about on the elaborate floor
of the consulting room
apologising profusely for scratch marks
neither of us could see

outside
my relative remained reticent
declining to be recognised 

I bought a poster of the whole event
but have never unrolled it

although I own it
and so does he

night came down like a …

night came down like a …

the mechanics of which he did not understand
why the darkness had descended early
why there was a blight upon the land

yes night came down like a …

as birds discussed the price of eggs
behind the lattice they were singing
slowly slowly it befell

… portcullis

howl

dog on the bed
like a polar landmass in the spring
I would give anything
to be like you
yours is an empire of the skin
mine the meandering way within
an island off the compass of the world
go howl your howl
let it be heard

release

I open the door and release them
one by one

they come to the door and I watch them go
in pale December sun

and some of them are beautiful
and some of them are old
and some of them are ugly
some as cold as stone

and some of them are holy

[first posted Jan 3, 2016]