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]

parcels from Italy 

when I was a boy
I would receive

parcels from Italy
quite regularly 

books
I could not read

clothes
too small for me

maternal greetings
fripperies

now I miss them 
infinitely 

no book

I imagine the room will be small
with pale blue walls
and a neat bed
with a thin coverlet
perhaps a curtained window
overlooking a communal garden
like the one we had
at the flats you never came to

there will be a bedside table
but no books
except for the one you leave behind
after your visit
with the black covers
alongside that copy of The Racing Post
the cleaner was reading

I’d send it back to you
if you hadn’t gone on ahead
I only back certainties now
want no book at all

parchment 

the sky is orange
the mountain pale yellow 
I wrote on parchment 
words of great sorrow
words of great tenderness
left for tomorrow
love lies in pieces
nothing to follow

meaningful gaps

spaces appeared on the shelves
as the time of departure drew near
reminding me of when you first arrived
to draw back the curtains
and flood the place with light

so too
intervals in conversation
as symptoms grew worse
speech harder

now through a chink in the curtains
only a thin strip remains
of the day

I pull them together and withdraw
to the meaninglessness
of sleep

meeting and parting

we raged at this and fumed at that
argued all the salient facts
clarified where we both sat
disagreed – went tit for tat
phoned advisors for a chat
performed like verbal acrobats
had a truly awful spat
and now that that is finally that
most of all
I miss her conversation

Drift

The old boat slipped its mooring,
must have drifted out to sea.
My neighbour took the launch out
though a boat’s no use to me.
I recall when we first got it,
did the trim in powder blue.
Will be out past Dead Man’s Island,
nothing anyone can do.

I’ll go fetch coffee.

Links | c.  Radu Razvan Gheorghe | Dreamstime.com
Links | c. Radu Razvan Gheorghe | Dreamstime.com

Walking Away

I thought you were walking towards me
but you were really walking away,

though I raised my hand to wave to you,
felt a smile break out on my face.

It was just a trick of the light maybe –
strange at that time of the day.

I thought you were walking towards me
but you were always walking away.

second viewing

they waited weeks before separating
until after the first frost
and in that time nothing much happened
except the air was unusually still
and for a few short days at least
there was a late flourish of summer
in which the garden looked lovelier than ever

then all of a rush they were gone

*

beautiful – she said on second viewing

can’t say I garden much – said the agent

like an old postcard – she said
carefully closing the gate behind her
strange but I didn’t notice it at all before
not at all

she turned to take a last look
a sudden gust blew up from somewhere
causing the few remaining petals
on a single white rose
to drop like snowflakes
onto the flowerbed below

I’ll take it – she said

ready to order

I won’t have a starter
I don’t eat dessert
I shan’t have a mains
I hurt hurt hurt
I can’t take rejection
but I can take a hint
just bring another bottle
and a wafer thin mint