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

navigation 

when conversation became difficult
I made for the shelter of the trees
looking back across the sun-bleached field
to where the party was in full swing
appreciating the amplitude of tall silences
that I could navigate more easily

from there I could see you slowly circling
coming to rest
before finally heading out

navigation

ascertaining a position
calculating the most favourable route
between one point and another

even when there is no point at all

navigation

just moving around

it takes skill

practice

finesse

when even gentle waters
can seem treacherous

safer amid trees

they don’t move around

at least don’t appear to

I whispered a quiet thank you
and plotted a course back

a murmuration of starlings

we sang harsh songs to each other
made our strange movements in the shrill

air
at last descending to low complaint
that found no forgiveness

anywhere
I would have painted grass green for you
my heart forever

scorned
now can’t paint sky without cloud
nor put sun there to offer

warmth
hard to reconcile as evening gathers in

only a child could do that
as only a child

will
the sky grows ever crazier
in bewildering

display
a murmuration of starlings that with darkness

falls away

what we did on our holidays

oh take me
by the rolling southern downs
onwards
to a little seaside town

park me
in a guest house with no view
and listen
to me moan about the food

hear me
moaning with the homeless sea
complaining
all night long incessantly

harken
to me moaning as we leave
now you get
your turn to moan at me

map reference

when history crumbles
so does everything

we are nothing but a list
of names
dates
map references

I remember the addresses
we have lived at

and one persimmon
on a bench between us
where we discovered
fruit
too astringent
to be enjoyed