The vast pack turns now – howls
it echoes in the dark
locks of the valley cliffs.
The whole hive mind stiffens –
an enemy appears
and soon becomes shadow.
The light of the howlers
is a dim-burning light
not hot like communion –
cold; cold as hill mist tears
that graze clean the day’s grime
from forgotten arches
Running silently through
damp places on the hill
babbling under black clouds
and devouring, slowly.
At first, skin from your flesh.
And then, thoughts from your brain
And as poetry dies a death
or is reborn – which is
the same, until it isn’t
And the sunlight takes on a sharpness
And the world begins again to end
quite unlike a mint falling to the floor
cleanly in two upon the tiles
and the sheerness of thought stacks
so steeply –
Did not a roman slave walk
the dry paths of this split-cream coast
Does not this man hang such
washing as has never been bettered
in the warm air
Does not the mother walk a beach
as her dog exacts nothing from
as slow the waves pull down the coast
and the sun’s fog blurs horizons
and a thousand small discomforts –
there is still much to do
even on last days, which may fade
walking through a sliding glass door
as if to return shortly
but never returning (all this
in the sun)
Here, look up through the parasol
at the sun encased in black fabric
does this seem gaudy to you?
The prehistoric stands on a cliff
watching those same horizons
as the birdcalls change.
Ask for help from the sky-trails
as they spread into the blue.
Note the ferocious beautiful
of pre-bomb flares falling on the city
but note you may be thrown off the bus
by those who don’t understand
that a flower can exist in a wasteland.
Place your hands often on
warm heads of hair –
cope like this – in sunlit ripples
on some body of water
some body of air