ark

I sailed out
and not a sign of songbirds
I listened to the ocean
and its mournful sway

I have made an ark of my days
no graceful vessel
but a makeshift shelter
in which to stay 

I have made a wreck of my days
and would be done with it
but an ark is a cathedral
by another name

listen to the songbirds
in the cold grey water
songbirds perch
on the endless wave

songbirds sing
in clear blue water
gentle waters
sing for day

Last call

For the remainder of the day, everyone sat in silence
not quite believing what they had heard,
and later, as they made their way to the summerhouse,
I waited my turn in the Japanese garden.
The gong was sounding for supper, I remember,
as I made my last call.

The cherry blossom looks so strange in the twilight,
don’t you think – almost ghostly.

no joyful music

if there are a thousand ways
to hold back time
one would be to journey
down some unknown railway line
and by the winking
of a cheap hotel sign
slip into the forests
of the night

let the night take you
where there is no need for time
or for anything at all
till comes a dripping dawn
devoid of chorus

no joyful music then
to mark the day –
not that it would be
wanted anyway

pebbles for a prize

in a cabin with no number
on a ship without a name
on a sea with no location
inspiration never came
to the shaky old right hand
and the notebook and the pen
of a man who was commanded
to go sailing once again
today it was not granted
today it won’t arrive
I am washed up on the shore
with only pebbles for a prize

[first posted 1 December 2014]

scene outside the city gates

the carter saw him first
coming over the lumpen earth
bearing fruit on a gold cloth as tithe

then came the travelling man
smelling of wood smoke
and humming a tune
that made you want to go with him

well go why don’t you

next a blind captain led by a fool
asking for water
asking for balm
from two old women turned into beasts
the badger
the snuffling warthog

ask the carter
he saw it all
I don’t speak to anyone
but just look on
hardly daring to breath
endlessly waiting