ready

sunlight on an empty vessel
in the deserted house along the shore

only when I am like that empty vessel
will I be ready
for my guest to call

when the wind and the sea and all the landscape
know me and recognise me
as one belonging

then – only then
will I be ready

for the coming

wild roses

wild roses grew on the border
but pretty soon after died
I moved into the Albany
and sat up every night
there is a window on the soul
if we have a soul at all
there is a phone here by the bed
but I never make a call
there is a wind and there is a wood
and there is a darkening way
there is a phone here by the bed
but I wouldn’t know what to say
from a room here at the Albany
and a window on the soul
I love a quiet garden
where wild roses grow
no one has an answer
no one has a key
wild roses on the border
no longer bloom for me

the welcome guest

on the second night we sang songs of abandonment
and on the third night
and the fourth
and on every night
until the welcome guest said to us

why do you sing these songs to me
for these are the songs sung by the sea
and sung by the wind that shakes the trees

sing again that song you sang before
for that is the most terrible
and beautiful of all

but none of us could recall
any song that came before

the hide

we are left with a westerly wind
blowing us memories of the five isles*
deepening our response to the autumn apples
squashed into pulp on the greenway pavement

when I stood upon the beach at midnight
I wasn’t looking for a ship to sail
only wanting a quiet life
after long years of silence

and trooping back along the boards and rushes
I felt a sudden urge
to make for the sanctuary of the hide
peer again through a slat into dark waters

we are left with a westerly wind
re-inhabiting points of loss
most keenly felt when as children
we frequented an empty toy shop
a shop where nobody came

I went there with half a crown
to the elderly brothers in brown
I went for a five shilling blessing
but brought only half a crown

bless me for I have sinned
only here do I find peace
here in the sanctuary of the hide
kneeling above dark waters
clutching the past like a broken toy

*[Isles of Scilly]