headland 2

I often walk
this stony beach
uncomfortable upon the feet
but conducive to the mind
though I would rather not make rhymes
but wander to a place I know
around the headland
a mile or more
a little bay
a sheltered cove
where I arrange the stones
just so
bereft of any rhyme
or reason
hard to find
in any season
not on maps
nor in guide books
I only find
when I don’t look 

in so many words

consider the geography of your utterance
its highlands – valleys – plateaus
its backways tracks and roads
then you will have traveled a good way in a day
and know where the line-breaks go

I was taught poetry by a map-maker
a walker
a man of the lakes and fells

this is what he tried to tell me
in so many words

a poem or two

my days are too dense
like dumplings with no stew
and when this occurs 
I don’t know what to do
but call the doctor
and the ambulance crew

too dense they say 
that’s the trouble with you
go write a poem –
a poem or two

articles of faith

the monastery on the hillside there
was established in the twelfth century
it was used as a detention centre
by the nazis during the occupation
was turned into a casino after the war
and is now a psychiatric institution

actually I made all that up
except for the latter
trust me – I’m a poet
I employ colourful matter
to establish a truth
or at least a particle

indefinite article

a poet must concern himself
with everything and all
from the nature of the soul
to hell’s darkest hole
and he must take risks
soothe troubled minds
and not just his
but all mankind’s
and that is the truth
more than a particle

definite article

shall we talk about the sea now
you and me

or shall we talk about the sky now
you and I

no smoking on the coach please

[first posted 4/6/2015]

only don’t ask me

the unlocatable sorrows of the heart
cannot be mapped
but may be glimpsed through art –
in colours that in striking ways combine
in music or words that mysteriously
lilt or chime

in no sense do these explicitly impart
significance but make you start
feel elevated – touch – jar
the unlocatable sorrows of the heart

else ask the wind the fire the sea
only don’t ask me