lighter 

the old man had lost something
of inestimable worth
more precious than he could ever say

now his burden felt a little lighter
a little lighter
as he went upon his way

(first posted 3 Feb. 2016)

the valley

sitting on the bed
notebook raised to the rough angle
of the ridge opposite
where the orange cubes of a new estate
have sprung up against the skyline
I recall another time
I sketched houses in distraction
as one parent raged against the other
in the summer vacation
before they parted

I shouldn’t have started
the light diminishes – evening comes early

evening comes early to all of us
who dwell in the valley

[first posted 26 March 2015]

open 

old man on the beach
he might have wept

nothing worth the keeping
could be kept

the house on the shore
stands empty now

a cupboard door
swings open

only the boat lies broken
not the ocean

An Otherwise Cheery Night 

My sarcophagus –
enclosure of the soul;
I thought I was there
when the bed was cold.

I feel better now
but when you’re old,
sometimes your pulse
gets kind of slow.

I wonder when the worms
will start to bite.

Just some thoughts
on an otherwise cheery night.

[first posted Oct. 17, 2015]

order of service

often there is only me here

now
and one place mat
where there used to be several

but birds still sing in the
high hedgerow

at dusk
when service is over

obtained by digging

experience flashes over us
like the morning shower

the more intense it is
the more difficult to grasp

for one whole second
let alone an hour

if I could only hold a moment
from that wellspring of joyous giving

but all I have are these
dull memories

like casts and molds
no longer living

so long ago it seems
intangible as dream

but for these cold fossil forms
obtained by digging

peripherals

I’ve noticed that when I cross the road nowadays
the element of chance involved
is greater than it used to be
such is the state of my peripheral vision

it’s really quite exciting

that and making a pretty girl laugh
are probably the most an old man can hope for

silent partner

this morning I remembered myself
as a small boy
stretching to greet the day
with hands that could capture sunlight
or think that they could anyway

it took me by surprise
and I admit I almost cried
to think that when I breathe my last
he will be there by my side

my silent partner

3 x 13

the day is pale with frost
birds huddle together on the wire
like paid mourners

the nurse told me I had mild concussion
and let me go
thirteen stitches seemed unlucky

that was thirty-nine years ago
three times thirteen
I do the sum
I count the cost

the day is pale with frost
birds huddle together on the wire

thirteen of them

yardarm

life grows thinner
with the thinning of my hair
I’m as unenthusiastic
as elastic on old underwear
socks that won’t stay up
pills that won’t go down
is there any decent reason
I should really hang around
except to watch the sun
till that lovely moment when
it goes over the yardarm
I can have a drink again

[first posted Apr 4, 2015]