Poems

Hit Title Date Added
1.
Full Moon
Good God!
What did I dream last night?
I dreamt I was the moon.
...
2.
Full-Length Portrait of the Moon
3.
Dunt: a poem for a dried up river
Very small and damaged and quite dry,
a Roman water nymph made of bone
tries to summon a river out of limestone


very eroded faded
her left arm missing and both legs from the knee down
a Roman water nymph made of bone
tries to summon a river out of limestone


exhausted utterly worn down
a Roman water nymph made of bone
being the last known speaker of her language
she tries to summon a river out of limestone


little distant sound of dry grass try again


a Roman water nymph made of bone
very endangered now
in a largely unintelligible monotone
she tries to summon a river out of limestone


little distant sound as of dry grass try again


exquisite bone figurine with upturned urn
in her passionate self-esteem she smiles looking sideways
she seemingly has no voice but a throat-clearing rustle
as of dry grass try again


she tries leaning
pouring pure outwardness out of a grey urn


little slithering sounds as of a rabbit man in full night-gear,
who lies so low in the rickety willowherb
that a fox trots out of the woods
and over his back and away try again


she tries leaning
pouring pure outwardness out of a grey urn
little lapping sounds yes
as of dry grass secretly drinking try again


little lapping sounds yes
as of dry grass secretly drinking try again


Roman bone figurine
year after year in a sealed glass case
having lost the hearing of her surroundings
she struggles to summon a river out of limestone


little shuffling sound as of approaching slippers


year after year in a sealed glass case
a Roman water nymph made of bone
she struggles to summon a river out of limestone


little shuffling sound as of a nearly dried-up woman
not really moving through the fields
having had the gleam taken out of her
to the point where she resembles twilight try again


little shuffling clicking
she opens the door of the church
little distant sounds of shut-away singing try again


little whispering fidgeting of a shut-away congregation
wondering who to pray to
little patter of eyes closing try again

very small and damaged and quite dry
a Roman water nymph made of bone
she pleads she pleads a river out of limestone


little hobbling tripping of a nearly dried-up river
not really moving through the fields,
having had the gleam taken out of it
to the point where it resembles twilight.
little grumbling shivering last-ditch attempt at a river
more nettles than water try again


very speechless very broken old woman
her left arm missing and both legs from the knee down
she tries to summon a river out of limestone


little stoved-in sucked thin
low-burning glint of stones
rough-sleeping and trembling and clinging to its rights
victim of Swindon
puddle midden
slum of over-greened foot-churn and pats
whose crayfish are cheap tool-kits
made of the mud stirred up when a stone's lifted


it's a pitiable likeness of clear running
struggling to keep up with what's already gone
the boat the wheel the sluice gate
the two otters larricking along go on


and they say oh they say
in the days of better rainfall
it would flood through five valleys
there'd be cows and milking stools
washed over the garden walls
and when it froze you could skate for five miles yes go on


little loose end shorthand unrepresented
beautiful disused route to the sea
fish path with nearly no fish in
...
4.
Flies
This is the day the flies fall awake mid-sentence
and lie stunned on the windowsill shaking with speeches
only it isn't speech it is trembling sections of puzzlement which
break off suddenly as if the questioner had been shot

this is one of those wordy days
when they drop from their winter quarters in the curtains and sizzle as they fall
feeling like old cigarette butts called back to life
blown from the surface of some charred world

and somehow their wings which are little more than flakes of dead skin
have carried them to this blackened disembodied question

what dirt shall we visit today?
what dirt shall we re-visit?

they lift their faces to the past and walk about a bit
trying out their broken thought-machines
coming back with their used-up words

there is such a horrible trapped buzzing wherever we fly
it's going to be impossible to think clearly now until next winter
what should we
what dirt should we
...
5.
Fox
I heard a cough
as if a thief was there
outside my sleep
a sharp intake of air

a fox in her fox-fur
stepping across
the grass in her black gloves
barked at my house

just so abrupt and odd
the way she went
hungrily asking
in the heart's thick accent

in such serious sleepless
trespass she came
a woman with a man's voice
but no name

as if to say: it's midnight
and my life
is laid beneath my children
like gold leaf
...
6.
Severed Head Floating Downriver
It is said that after losing his wife, Orpheus was torn to
pieces by Maenads, who threw his head into the River
Hebron. The head went on singing and forgetting,
filling up with water and floating way.




Eurydice already forgetting who she is
with her shoes missing
and the grass coming up through her feet



searching the earth
for the bracelet of tiny weave on her charcoal wrist





the name of a fly or flower already forgetting who they are
they grow they grow
till their bodies break their necks



down there in the stone world
where the grey spirits of stones he around uncertain of their limits
matter is eating my mind I am in a river



I in my fox-cap
floating between the speechless reeds
I always wake like this being watched


already forgetting who I am
the water wears my mask I call I call
lying under its lashes like a glance




if only a child on a bridge would hoik me out




there comes a tremor and there comes a pause




down there in the underworld
where the tired stones have fallen
and the sand in a trance lifts a little
it is always midnight in those pools



iron insects engraved in sleep



I always wake like this being watched



I always speak to myself
no more myself but a colander
draining the sound from this never-to-be mentioned wound



can you hear it
you with your long shadows and your short shadows





can you hear the severed head of Orpheus




no I feel nothing from the neck down



already forgetting who I am
the crime goes on without volition singing in its bone
not I not I
the water drinks my mind




as if in a black suit
as if bent to my books
only my face exists sliding over a waterfall




and there where the ferns hang over the dark
and the midges move between mirrors
some woman has left her shoes
two crumpled mouths
which my voice searches in and out




my voice being water
which holds me together and also carries me away
until the facts forget themselves gradually like a contrail



and all this week
a lime-green hght troubles the riverbed
as if the mud was haunted by the wood



this is how the wind works hard at thinking
this is what speaks when no one speaks
...
7.
A Short Story of Falling
It is the story of the falling rain
to turn into a leaf and fall again

it is the secret of a summer shower
to steal the light and hide it in a flower

and every flower a tiny tributary
that from the ground flows green and momentary

is one of water's wishes and this tale
hangs in a seed-head smaller than my thumbnail

if only I a passerby could pass
as clear as water through a plume of grass

to find the sunlight hidden at the tip
turning to seed a kind of lifting rain drip

then I might know like water how to balance
the weight of hope against the light of patience

water which is so raw so earthy-strong
and lurks in cast-iron tanks and leaks along

drawn under gravity towards my tongue
to cool and fill the pipe-work of this song

which is the story of the falling rain
that rises to the light and falls again
...
8.
Slowed-Down Blackbird
Three people in the snow
getting rid of  themselves
breath by breath

and every six seconds a blackbird

three people in raincoats losing their tracks in the snow
walking as far as the edge and back again
with the trees exhausted
tapping at the sky

and every six seconds a blackbird

first three then two
passing one eye between them
and the eye is a white eraser rubbing them away

and on the edge a blackbird
trying over and over its broken line
trying over and over its broken line
...
9.
LIVING UNDER THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Went out to a cafe last night a kind of hospital place with white cloths I was looking
for food all I found was the waiters were rude on their rounds the patients kept drumming
their fingers and opening their head-wounds what a burial place for dead leaves pale
endives and chives what a transplant place what a ward for transfusions those grinding engines
concealed behind napkins it's an underworld kept under clothes behind mouths I remember
the candle-lit clatter of teeth I was thinking Thank God for the background noise of the same CD
being played of a flute like a famished throat what a shame to be eaten

Then a man sat down he skewered a fact with his fork he was stroking his throat he
was bursting to talk but the woman on his left was lividly pin-pointing peas the woman
on his right was spitting a splatter of opinions mixed up with onions he said Ladies!
Admire me please! But the woman on his left was lifting a living fish to her lips the
woman on his right was dipping her fingertips in flesh she said I just ADORE the digestive system
how nocturnal it is to be eaten how airless and wet it's a quagland a wilderness when
you get down to that windowless work it's a murmurous gadget of blades which your eyes can't
enter look close! Look closer! There are ferns and flowers that bloom in the gullet it's
a dayshift nightshift shaft full of clobber whole rooms full of water and winding steps lead out to
the exit he said listen! This is hardly conversation! We should ask each other questions! Are you
fond of me both? But the meat was still writhing in his mouth he was kissing his plate
he said Waiter! These kisses are cold and you're late!

Oh the tables were dressed in white they were bridesmaids waiting to be laid there were
plates of bones being pushed to one side I said Why do you drink like that like a horse with your
lips pulled back I can see right down through the bottom of your glass to the black and sucking force of
your gut I don't like it he said Listen! It's dark living under the digestive system it's dog eat
dog down here it's a pig's dinner meaning big eat small there's no alternative at all
he said Listen! You might imagine a more nervous or lymphatic system but the mact of the
fatter is this this world is a gut and it's all we've got don't speak not yet but don't forget
the next world's going to be candle-lit a kind of hospital place with white cloths you'd better
look smart twelve silver angels will come at dark like cutlery they are cloned and
sharp
...
10.
Aside
In Berkshire somewhere 1970
I hid in a laurel bush outside a house,
Planted in gravel I think.
I stopped running and just pushed open
Its oilskin flaps and settled down
In some kind of waiting room, whose scarred boughs
Had clearly been leaning and kneeling there
For a long time. They were bright black.

I remember this Museum of Twilight
Was low-ceilinged and hear-through
As through a bedroom window
One hears the zone of someone's afternoon
Being shouted and shouted in, but by now
I was too evergreen to answer, watching
The woodlice at work in hard hats
Taking their trolleys up and down.

Through longer and longer interims
A dead leaf fell, rigidly yellow and slow.
So by degrees I became invisible
In that spotted sick-room light
And nobody found me there.
The hour has not yet ended in which
Under a cloth of Laurel
I sat quite still.
...

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5/16/2021 5:03:30 AM # 1.0.0.578