line breaks

I awoke unable to remember
how or why we write poems

or make these line breaks

alerting us to another way
of reading and seeing

now I remember

meanwhile
rainwater collecting in buckets
shone like something holy

[first posted 17 Jan 2015]

cave drawings

this morning I sharpened my pencil
in expectation of words

little boats came instead
while antelope gathered
upon a white hill
to stare – cave drawings
from I don’t know where

I would rather have had words

[first posted 31 May 2015]

howl

dog on the bed
like a polar landmass in the spring
I would give anything
to be like you
yours is an empire of the skin
mine the meandering way within
an island off the compass of the world
go howl your howl
let it be heard

[first posted 1 Jan 2017]

the price of light bulbs

you sit at your table writing
while I sit at mine
I’d like to have coffee with you sometime
a glass or two of wine
discuss the price of light bulbs
or the intricacies of verse

there are subjects far worse
such as love
loss
domesticity

it would all be with the greatest civility
though I cannot remain serious
for too long

I knew a girl once made me laugh so much
I could have wept

but now she’s gone
and I am undone

so here’s to you
and whatever it is you write
so feverishly
uneasily
at your table

I am unable to stand the light
for much longer
at any price

[first posted Jan 10, 2016]

from another ocean 

tales were told at table

that night
and when it came to my turn

I said
why is it always my turn

and the answer came back
you’re the only one

here
so I recounted the days of my

youth
which I missed grievously

and told
of sorrows and lost loves

and worse things
wearing my heart wide open

recalling
the story of the whale mother

singing
to her stolen calf unceasingly

even
from another ocean

For There Be Sirens

Between night and day lies a slate sea
with only cheap whiskey
to ease the passage towards dawn.

Seven times we listed to starboard
until on the eighth I went over,
dashing my head amid the flotsam
of my ruined work.

Beached in the silver of the new day
I slept the sleep of kings,
dreaming of dark eyes and of no awakening.

Tonight we set sail again,
strapping ourselves to the mast.

For there be sirens.

[I was probably as drunk as Dylan Thomas when I wrote this – there the similarity ends!]

download (11)

even this

the telegraph pole opposite
spoils my view of the ridge
lovely in any season
but especially this
when the browns and russets
of late Autumn
match my mood
and I find communication
of any kind intrudes
has its risks

even this kind
even this

headland 2

I often walk
this stony beach
uncomfortable upon the feet
but conducive to the mind
though I would rather not make rhymes
but wander to a place I know
around the headland
a mile or more
a little bay
a sheltered cove
where I arrange the stones
just so
bereft of any rhyme
or reason
hard to find
in any season
not on maps
nor in guide books
I only find
when I don’t look 

tryst

pale hart in the copse at dusk
under stars
that bristle on a chinless heaven

faith
I have none
these things are random

I turn up my collar on the night
knowing
she is already gone

crumbs

they come like little mysteries
feelings unresolved
birds to scattered crusts
upon a window-ledge

and still they come

and all I have to offer
are these crumbs