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

helplines

while she held on to my hand
and whispered soothing words
she had one eye on her car keys
and a quick getaway

there is no common currency here
just rates of exchange
that fluctuate wildly
in different circumstances

try calling the helpline she said
there isn’t one I said
well try calling anyway she said
so I did
many times
many helplines

fifteen of them

[first posted Jan 2, 2016]

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

yes there is only

winter came early
but the trees held on to their leaves
and the weather stayed remarkably warm
we only knew it was winter at all
because someone told us
and people gave us knowing looks in the street
you mustn’t grieve the priest told us
it would be sinful to grieve
but nonetheless I did
yes there is only me now

the secret of the crows

I would gather apples in the sun
and fling them at the crows that harm no one
because my sickness worsens by degrees
and crows wear black especially for me
but when I turn my back for all I know
their feathers flash the colours of the rainbow
I’ll catch them out one day and we shall see
all sickness then consigned to history

[first posted 15 Jan 2015]

hill walking 1

hill walking in too many clothes
I chose to ask the sun
just what he meant
by shining
and if he knew
how many revolutions
we’d go through
before we’re done

and furthermore
did he know
which celestial sphere
reigned over him

any inkling?

just asking

I have been forced by illness
to ask these idiotic things

I lost a sweater
and felt no better

he soon went in
and darkness again
prevailed

[first posted 9 July 2015]