Crab-line Lesson

Drawing up crabs out
Of vast black swimming
Depths – I killed limpets

With a borrowed knife
I stuck the hook through
And my conscience

Twitched with the piercing –
Unknown primal guts
Dripped onto fingers

I dropped the line quick
And after minutes
Of my stunned-keen gaze

I brought them up – they
Faded from the rift,
Scrabbled bright plastic

Murk green crabs, my brothers
The adults taught me
How quick to catch them

I deep-stared at them
With them, swam the pool
A fear taken hold.

I threw them back in.

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk

Material queue sieved for death by death
each waiting – these
things – for ease let’s call them people;
candles of corpses, yes, yes
don’t follow 
them
we follow them and

The sea’s gelatinous foam tells
them just how welcome (with surface
clinging to surface and the wind, by tension
dreary and wearisome this forsaken country.
was the scum of livid weed on the dark
greasy surfaces of the sullen waters.
Dead grasses and rotting reed loomed up in the mists
like ragged shadows

most welcome in this swelling tide
for there is no evil here –
there is only this mercurial life

You and me, and also
world-endings, chance gifts of death,
to bevel slowly a sound to a knife edge
where one of them (of us) stands alone
on the iron-fold brink
come to the very midst of the dead
marshes, and it was dark
grit from the serration drag

Alone
Alone on the sunk-sending
are dead things
dead faces in the water
A fell light
all hope painstakingly lost
human stories are practically
always about one thing,
aren’t they?

Then,
Then, a suddenness on the sea-wind
brings with it a breath, one breath
they heard
a long, wailing cry
high and thin and cruel

a deep unending breath
And elgar swings his legs
to the side of the sweat-ridden sheets
reaches, grasps the rough curtains
to open a sliver of blinding sunlight and a piercing
light to blind him
pierces, morning-sun made midday
by the darkness of the nest-depression –
Anything obscene is blessed in this world and has a reward –
I ask for no reward –
only to live, Jaeger

thus – scribbles a new moon, haltingly
to arc and draw the tide
one more inhumanity to blast us
No more dragging the mass
embarrased behind –

Nothing else has changed
but the sea now runs forward,
salted tears in its eyes.
rubbing their eyes,
like children wakened from an evil dream
to find the familiar night
still over the
world

And now the in breath ends
now – hear companion-cries
to send us
Home.

Wraiths! he wailed.
Agonised listening, myth-carving
as grandparents become myths
even as remembered.
Wraiths on wings!

westering far away beyond Tol-Brandir
and a vast fire-storm in the east
with a rush the wind came upon them
burning
hissing and snarling over the marshes
burning, burning
for a moment
the night became less dark
light enough for them to see
shapeless drifts of fog
for ease lets call them people
looking up they saw the clouds breaking and shredding
and then high in the south the moon glimmered
out

* * *

leaving, alas, everyone the poorer, many bereaved or maimed and millions dead, and only one thing triumphant: the Machines. As the servants of the Machine are becoming a privileged class, the Machines are going to be enormously more powerful. What’s their next move? – Tolkien, The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien

2 Storms

8, 3×8, Storm 6

Then, I heard the thunder would come
but mouths murmered, the top end cut
So I never really got it

Their predictions had none or less
crunch or grind to my mouth, my eyes
now the thunder here, behind woods

does the scrape that only skies do
dumps all the folds in the stratos
rattling the bin of history.

We are talking, when the thunder
comes, stops us, sets us up on posts
ready for the whip-cracks, the fright

deep fright of the millions year
dark creep of the cloud-shadow, fast
ancestor. It puts us on edge.

I love it so much I could end
arms outstretched with one last static
shock to end all shocks, to end storms.

But you still tend orchids outside
As the rain tends all other plants
then sit close and we wait breath tensed

baited with small sounds to draw out
deeper ones. Each new paradigm
storm sound to teach all others how

2, 3×6, Storm 5

Thunder comes once when I
am stood among poetry
among the old books, new

Only once, but enough
to set a featureless
day in stone memory.

Evening Song

Here legs run and their humans
A pack of females, entangled
But they laugh, they joke
There are rivalries.

That’s okay, that’s not the worst
By any means. The field is clear.

Across the way small brown birds
Forage for worms, for shoots
And all the while the sun slides
In and out of haze and clouds

And thin sheets of light glint
From many soft lenses.

Sylvia, nature,
It’s not the lack of inner life
This simple celebration.
It’s simple, but not only simple.

You can keep honey hives, you can.
But certain bees can clump and sting whenever.