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
An itinerant treads through the fields in London, Wales and England, picking through the debris of a culture war, heading back home to the north. They record the thoughts of objects and see the others talking and gesturing, haunted by visions and dreams of the past and future. The field repeats, each time slightly differently. In each field a different assemblage – maybe a castle, or a festival, or a bird
The human field of view allows
the castle to stand despite its thinness
on the hill formed of plucked trees
and the sea moving in all its weight
in its strength and then weakness.
Strength, weakness. Strength, weakness.
The seagulls search for fried fish
while I forgive myself of the past,
this new year. And find new feelings.
This civil war gatehouse with brick
and stone arches, towers, mossy tile,
helps me to understand myself:
it sits there, watching the grump
and joy of life and doesn’t quite know.
But it sits there all the same.
A rainbow slips into the bay around,
and grows brighter. We find a place
to park and at last, enjoy the sea.
Left the cold house and broke hastily through –
passed for a day over poster perfect fields
and the sun charged with us, freeing the air.
My friend snatches a deer from the woods grasp
and chatters for an hour about its litheness.
It fell to us to unlock this path’s puzzle –
spell hieroglyphs upon the land’s patterns –
leave nothing else but time behind us.
Like the moon frosting the evening, brushes the darkness,
a Castle falls out of the forest –
meets us as we crunch around a corner:
It carves its ancient signature into us.
This must have let us forget, as we left there in darkness
and stumbled up the stone-ridden hills, slowly,
eerie at the earth crop’s murmuring whispers –
the little light that fed the surging darkness.
Then, chancing the elder hunting track,
we saw histories of the boar’s foraging,
burned stars into memory as we shivered –
hearing Orion’s shadow, under the frosted roads.
A cloudy morning in Carcassonne
strolling up the hill to the cité –
I was thirsty, but I forgot my water
Of course, it was restored, and badly –
but all that means is one man’s vision
threw itself upon the walls –
how could my eyes, throwing their glance
have done any better?
The frowning Roman turrets
sit grumpily next to their descendants
the final result of which is to bring
to the forefront, a kind of archetype
of the castle, and fill it with shops.
Slowly climbing a staircase, caressing
with wonder the modern stairs, mistaken
for a bygone age’s deep invention.
Recordings, in the lopsided cathedral
are another image, of ancient chanters
carefully walking the halls.
Children run in the pews around me.
An intensity seen through a stained glass window –
I remember my thirst, I search for a fountain
but can find no water, only sand.