Ithaca 4

Birds play ocarinas on the roof
as I lay here and bargain with the truth,
on my island in the dazzling blue,
crickets doing whatever it is they do.

Ulysses once stood upon this shore
and tried to rouse his mariners once more,
there were no sailors left to raise a sail,
warriors grown thin and worn and pale.

Truth must have its way from time to time
and bludgeon you discreetly from behind,
I’ll deal the way I’ve always dealt with truth
while birds play ocarinas on the roof.

map reference

when history crumbles
so does everything

we are nothing but a list
of names
dates
map references

I remember the addresses
we have lived at

and one persimmon
on a bench between us
where we discovered
fruit
too astringent
to be enjoyed

wrinkles

everyone knows very well
when a tortoise loses his shell
then everything goes to hell
everything goes to hell

oh misery misery me
I’m as wrinkly as can be
and a book is no company
for the evening

now the girls won’t give me a look
what fun can you have with a book
wrinkles was all it took
just wrinkles

[first posted 25 August 2014]

The Anniversary

Shouldn’t that have told you something,
when the speckled leaves gave amber to the ground
and you turned to seek advice from all around
and found none.

Shouldn’t you have realized
that the ragged Autumn was your only friend,
though its message in the end
was too late understood.

Not till the last, the very last,
and the anniversary had come to pass.

Now you tread another message with your shoe,
notice that your hand grows speckled too.

[first posted 27 Sept. 2013]

review

you might have told me I was cast as fool
even if I knew
the part I play was given
by a truer hand and cruel

and now I am to play no part at all
but know
like some old stager in the wings
I’ll never get to play the hero

a hollow masque is my review
of this production
too slight a thing to be called tragic
too tragic for a farce

some wizard’s art – for my part
too fierce a magic

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

twilight on Ashridge

twilight on Ashridge
and I am forgetting everything
to reflect upon
the thick mixture of mud
and deer droppings
I have just stepped in

who I was
what I’ve left undone
my way back through these woods
so rich in beech and oak
where I come to walk the dog
and have my quiet smoke

looking back
I remember feeling
much the same in youth
hemmed in by thought and mood
imprisoned and yet lost
I turn to find I am watched
thin velvety antlers
not long from the pedicle
barely discernible
amongst the twiggery
of this ancient world
that in a few short weeks
will change into something
thin and brittle as
a pensioner
with a purse full of coppers
that at last opens
then won’t close

well
we all find closure eventually
ready or not

now
one snap from me and he is off
prancing free
back to the herd
where he belongs
and where
if truth be told
I have always been at odds

angels

in the end there is nothing
but the beauty of angels
worn down and moss covered
in the garden of remembrance
we went to as kids
to smoke and drink wine in

now clean out of time
I’m no closer
to understanding why
death has more followers
than anyone