In My Mouth
Love, the word:
warm and rolling.
I had it on a forceps;
Love, the word:
I swallowed it.
Standing in a slant of sunlight,
silver glinting specks of dust,
fingering the links of the chain
about her neck and gazing, not
seeing, into the blur of greenery,
her garden. She knows part of
her life has slipped her; not beyond
sensing, but beyond experiencing.
She knows it was hers: some lost
opportunity, something lost from
her own realisation. And it is lost.
Now she must step out of her reverie,
return to her lesser self, trimmed
but, somehow, wiser.
If Happiness Has a Sound
It is a stream
running on its pebble bed;
exultation: a waterfall
diving off a cliff;
contentment: a river
strolling through the fields;
achievement: an ocean
hammering on its chest.
And still, the stream is starving,
the waterfall lost,
the river homeless
and the ocean despairing,
seeing the glimmer of the unattainable
on all its horizons.
away, out to the horizon;
dancing in it:
a perfection, I believe;
I do believe that.
Beyond them, in that light,
things I wish I said,
before perfections dimmed;
still my love.............
This poem has been with me for years. It seems like its content to have an enduring relationship with passing time. The image goes back to the eighties; have I finished with it? Only time can tell.
See the watch-maker’s face bulge
disappear and bulge in clock glass;
his eyepiece transporting him back
to the innards of Victorian time;
their cogs acting his age; he cupping them,
tiny bones; nudging them onward
to tick his seconds away, and all the time
skeletons, back to his fathers’ reign,
lining the shelves like sunken galleons,
insensible the endless drift of the years.
By sheer coincidence I'm posting this on Poetry Day Ireland. I came across the quotation and felt I had something to say on the matter. The poem does, I think, speak the truth for some, but I would not disagree that poetry has, for many, a healing effect, and I think this has probably been particularly the case during the pandemic.
"poetry led me by the hand out of madness"
So often, poetry starts a journey but does not arrive;
drops your hand somewhere out on the plain.
Sometimes, it leads through a series of holograms, pictures
of a journey, then scampers off into a faraway dot.
Or insinuates that you are mad and it is the map
that will return you to yourself.
And sometimes it is the madness; so for your bearings,
keep note of the landscape passing.
From nails I hang,
abandoning my corpse like sloughed off skin.
From these four open corners my sprit flies
unfettered by earths’ directions.
Love defying hatred;
I give you the ladder of my bones.
Call me king,
only when I’ve given all for you.
Walking through the house: a trespass.
Your order, comforts, colours;
your breath, but not your breathing.
Walking inside your head
with no permission;
blundering into that unexpected museum-like staticity.
Walking in your space;
the ghost of you constantly passing
but the sunlight falling shadowless onto the floor.
(rewrite of a poem posted a few years back)
Sitting on a park bench,
a pool of sunlight before me,
a cosmos of flies:
stars in Brownian motion.
City park at midnight:
moths in lamp-light
with the sudden brilliance of meteorites
streaking from invisibility to invisibility.
a stream of molten silver;
a system of planets
carved into its limestone bed.
here's some advice from Ogden Nash:
Always Marry An April GirlPraise the spells and bless the charms,
Thrown there, a pair of boots,
well scuffed, parched;
a lolling tongue
thirsting for dubbin.
Laces trailing away
like wire after an escape;
the boots waiting,
Leather whose memories
are those of old hands,
who remember the stories
in their sleep.
Danced a hornpipe on the stream
to its continuous applause.
60% water, the moon full,
I was, indeed, at the top of my form,
clicking the stones
and stomping up spray,
quavers and crotchets draining
from my heels;
and the rooks on the tops of the trees
were roaring me on, breaking into jigs
themselves, they were,
and the sky full of jingly silver
and shooting concertina notes.
The old men walk a circle from the home;
their old suits holding their bones together.
They stop at the bridge to inquire how life goes;
the river speaks differently to each, then slithers along.
Once, an old man lay down in middle of the road
just over the bridge and was killed almost instantly.
Old people see visions in rivers, they understand, walk on,
and maybe next day come back again to learn some more.
No one knows what he saw in the river, but no one doubts
that it was the river that directed him to his bed.