Evenings I stare into light
and wonder why I do not sleep.
I see the wonderful smoothness
of her sat on a windowsill
The cat which is next to her is
not quite with it. She cradles her
phone like I want to be cradled
she sits and smiles the internet
loves a good smile, and a beauty
is brought which justifies all that,
all the machinery of phones.
As if I could step through the stream
and into the darkened room, run
my fingers across her tattoos
Examine her eyes for weakness.
I imagine it would not be
there. The red new leaves of the oak
hatch from a wooden cocoon, where
ancient flooded mines make a home
for birds. We sit on the lithe bench
near rotten memorial blooms
and your shoulders are bright and smooth.
The real woman and imagined
are feathers of the same warm ghost
Tired, we wander once more
comment on crows, seeders
pens holding red pandas
lazed asleep on logshade
the flowers press forward
out the back archway, then
basically clueless, we
wander around grey streets
Til up jumps the old mosque
with its blinding sun skin
we pass to shade where birds
& humans eat & drink
mint tea, seeds & pastries
we sit & read, watching
this crowding. Tile-glazed square
dappled, shimmering. The
afternoon flutters off.
Stunned at what had happened
god sat next to her
I still don’t quite know what happened, said god
Dove stared, and all god saw was his own face
this made him glad.
But then he saw crow, he began to cry
Dove hopped on his shoulder, drinking
The tears made Dove grow terrible
She slipped out into the heavens
With a syringe and a cotton swab
Carefully she offers control to the currents
As her eye glides up over furrows
Never overcorrecting, she appears
When she means to, clears the barren treetops
And fastens some fur between her beak and the ground.
Her predator’s presence in the city shows
She retains the perfection of the ages,
And rats, nested in stubborn woodland patches
Sing of her soundings to their children, of days
Of sudden pain when scraps and salvage end.
I was deprived of her, by haste.
Eggs, whose skin could crackle like woodfire
Instead sank in to themselves, and shrank
Til embryo sap stained the tree-forks.
Her keening night-cry declared the time.
And silence slowly took the skies while I was born
As the hill-wind might forget a part of itself.
No longer the slip and slither of air around wing
Only the crows desperate gasping and magpie chitter
I did not know that anything was missing.
Then, one day as we walked amongst the drizzle
Along a long drystone wall, I followed a hand
Which gestured up. How can it be,
That a few dark specks and their swoopings, complete the sky?
I felt this, and mum smiled to see me smile.
[The red kite is a bird of prey which was almost wiped out by the use of the pesticide DDT, and saved by some thoughtful people. Now it can be seen all over West Yorkshire again]
Coffee, dark in the dark morning
Soothing my throat of sleep’s work
In the shadows of the cold room.
My enjoyment sleepily ceased,
Of this waking dream, I sit aching
From yesterdays forgotten exertions.
Birds, flowing in their sky-patterns
using air as their darkness, they live
In the shadows of the breeze.
One lands on a gutter and slips
Into a drainpipe, scraping the walls
Impacts the dark stone and rots.
It struggles to leave, constrained
Eyes at the perfect level for worms
It cries shortly, immobile, waiting.
Speculations on how to be freed,
From this dispersing life, aided
To spark once again, in the night.