a flutter of wings

bridge between two islands

a place of meeting
and of tryst

touching
and desiring
and doing without 

things are not the same
now

I garden

read

never looking up

even at
a flutter of wings

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

total recall

in the electric sympathy of your touch
I found my wilderness
and heaven both

but heaven is not measured out in dust
and dust was all I reached for
when I woke

you had a birthmark
we all have birthmarks
that much I can recall

here on this barstool
this barren outcrop
I recall the electric sympathy of your touch

the price of light bulbs

you sit at your table writing
while I sit at mine
I’d like to have coffee with you sometime
a glass or two of wine
discuss the price of light bulbs
or the intricacies of verse

there are subjects far worse
such as love
loss
domesticity

it would all be with the greatest civility
though I cannot remain serious
for too long

I knew a girl once made me laugh so much
I could have wept

but now she’s gone
and I am undone

so here’s to you
and whatever it is you write
so feverishly
uneasily
at your table

I am unable to stand the light
for much longer
at any price

[first posted Jan 10, 2016]

no picnic

that cloud

on the edge of the cliff

from the coastal path
like the head of the patriarch

only a flimsy thing
that soon blows over

leaving clear day
and little else of meaning

on the headland
where we leave eggshells
for the birds

and scatter

sorry
I meant to show you something special

from another ocean 

tales were told at table

that night
and when it came to my turn

I said
why is it always my turn

and the answer came back
you’re the only one

here
so I recounted the days of my

youth
which I missed grievously

and told
of sorrows and lost loves

and worse things
wearing my heart wide open

recalling
the story of the whale mother

singing
to her stolen calf unceasingly

even
from another ocean

spring lambs

this morning everything seems

flat
my food like something
painted on a plate

I’m told today is holy
I suppose I should be patient

but like spring lambs kicking

in a field
I would Christ easter in me

and each day be nascent

[after “Let him easter in us”, Gerard Manley Hopkins, ‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’, st.35]

sea breeze

my spirit
which I have never seen
and that I love above all

things
and is insubstantial
and indestructible
that animated me as

a child
blows through these lines
like a sea breeze
on the night I first saw you
and felt like a man both

invincible
and riven through