mother tongue

the blackbird sings to me
his native thought

in that mother tongue

I knew
before I had voice to speak

in riddles

to the London trees
dwarfed between tall towers

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

Ithaca 4

Birds play ocarinas on the roof
as I lay here and bargain with the truth,
on my island in the dazzling blue,
crickets doing whatever it is they do.

Ulysses once stood upon this shore
and tried to rouse his mariners once more,
there were no sailors left to raise a sail,
warriors grown thin and worn and pale.

Truth must have its way from time to time
and bludgeon you discreetly from behind,
I’ll deal the way I’ve always dealt with truth
while birds play ocarinas on the roof.