Sometimes the heaviest reading
is the lightest – you understand?
Threading a needle envelops
the whole of us, a subtle task –
It is not a wetted slide down
in bright acrylic tubes to pools
It is a staircase and each step
slightly differs in height. Slowness
is an active ideal. I read
the day we spent in Dunstanburgh
and it is complex. Razor bills
and Shags patrol the ruined keep
in the darkness while the basalt
is thrashed by the waves. A staircase
starts halfway up a ruined stack –
The last person to take those stairs
was some unnamed and lost servant.
Yellow gorse patches over hills
which spread to the damp horizon
and fields of rapeseed glow and grow
We have steps to take and relearn
as heat passes into the sky
over the bookshop. And your kiss
stumps me like distant history
In the fume of the late world, I
lie in bed awake. Two o’clock
I turn the light off, finally
to end another day, and sleep.
A whistle, I hear, a trilling
out at the top of the north town –
The air is mild at autumn’s end
and a nightingale is singing.
I am opened up wide by it
I think of waking the whole house
Shouting to the street night, get up
a soft event is occurring.
Open in the window, with cool
air playing on my back, I hold
the phone with its small ear outward
Hoping to give my tired parents
sign of a small brown bird, city
bird now, or lost. I am awake
due to anxious spurrings, a world
that is inexplicable. Sleep
had it taken me, I don’t think
would have had resource to rival
this surprise which is beauty, and
banishes fear. If for a time
Does any animal float as well?
Resting on this peel of thickness
pedalling slowly, and honking
Duck taught the angels
how to fly – see them now
by the barrage, watching for tips –
just put your face in your armpit
and hang there, careless –
that is how to go about it.
Lessons such as that.
And how to remain calm
in the face of such rain
After duck stands up, wrings out his coat
he waves to the angels, who nod abashed
and calmly floats off into the sky
All the other birds have fled
disturbed, as a magpie makes perch
upon the dirt-dust iron hook
where a selection of old nuts hang
His blue gaze is hammer and nails
as he fixes me in place, and then
stabs a hanging half coconut shell
repeatedly. Full of fat and gristle,
the carrion hang on the feeders
was not there ’til he arrived, and now
as he flies, he leaves behind
a small lamb whose eyes are gone.
Another one now takes a turn.
Her clean beak is too soon soiled –
she flies guiltily off. And I,
I watch the clean bones drop.
As for the flak of trembling feather –
they learned as much as they watched
in turn, they flap to floor and search
and slurp up all the fallen scraps