uncommon prayer
bedtime story for the sick at heart
dog sigh on an unmade bed
at eventide

unquiet prayer
while children are still heard
in summer gardens
women come no more to offer comfort
or laughter

unholy prayer
full throated
now my visitor from the trees

fall away

bring sleep

the valley

sitting on the bed
notebook raised to the rough angle
of the ridge opposite
where the orange cubes of a new estate
have sprung up against the skyline
I recall another time
I sketched houses in distraction
as one parent raged against the other
in the summer vacation
before they parted

I shouldn’t have started
the light diminishes – evening comes early

evening comes early to all of us
who dwell in the valley

waking at Lulworth 2

waking again at Lulworth after many years
a drift of broken promises washed up in my ears
promises – broken promises – as empty as those shells
the beach bum paints so luridly and then for pennies sells
to children – wide-eyed children – to whom they are worth more
than promises made by adults who make them to ignore

waking again at Lulworth – sea chains round my feet
are far more real than promises some adult did not keep


we should drive off to the coast now
you and I
wander to the shore
we don’t go there anymore

the beach was just a place
we took the children to
if we went there on our own
what on earth would we both do
but walk the dog
and wonder where they are

the pattern of the seasons
is all we know
we arrive – we bloom – we fade – we go

all of us depart
none of us survive
we should drive off to the coast now
you and I

[first posted 14 November 2014]