Three Poems after Amelia Humber

Goss

After Amelia Humber

The tongue of the cosmos mouth
drags its mist along the pond
many eyes of the coral
or barnacle prayers impact
with a soft white thud and cloud
on the world’s hill – and deeper
the deep ink behind things seeps.

I stand in the softened copse
of the shore – rain drenched but warm
unnamed white flowers blow here
amongst the heather – their heads
bob and jump in the quantum
breeze – where I once might have thought
I now dwell with the land’s power.

*

Coopers

After Amelia Humber

Strobe lights over the shallows.
The marsh flows, hardly, but still
it flows here with the thin grass
so thin and black, it’s like hair.
A magnesium surface
and water, as the flock-spheres
make their debris way through air


In the mist there are things now
things you never wanted but
were offered for your viewing –
A procession of faceless
saints, a small black sheep hovers
legless, only seen in dark,
an entirely different sky

*

Point

After Amelia Humber

With a faint humming, negate
the sky as an unreached space
(a space we can hardly grasp)
and split open a vault – to
the dark above the grave pit
ridden with frost and snowlit
pourings – through this chasm tear


see the world as it could be
bare of all ground, all solids
floating in nothingness – then
between abyss and abyss
as it sees you – iris
vaster even than god’s eye
and the pupil that screams ‘live’

*

Painting credit to https://www.ameliahumber.com/

Two Poems

A Visit to Sylvia Plath’s Grave

Seeds of grass, pods of a clock
rock in the wind which picks up
and the dog barks once – we climbed
up green cobblestone steep street
and playground to Heptonstall
saw the abandoned ship drift
along a gravestone sea-path

and bump against the present.
It talked, the wind, it said words
from a wind tongue, softly, out
of itself in hidden verses.
A button is enough, placed
In her dirt. Sigh with the breeze,
over the empty space

The Ouse

The river never rests – pushed
by its own waters, it runs
pulled forward with earth-mass speed
round the bend in the land depth,
and at every moment, rain
sinks from the hills around – ends
with a collapse, its own path.

It is so fast and soundless
this – small orgasm of force
trillionfold, rumble drowned.
So perfectly the river
is loved by the rainfall – I
would have such friends.

Two Bus Poems

I

Every day bar some
the bus comes sometime, stops.
A law as certain, now
as the coming of night
of day, of suns, novas.
And people wobble on it.

I sit on the top floor
it feels safer up here
and I think of your face
whom I meet at the stop
on the odd occasion.
I think of the bus crash

where the corner taken
slightly too fast ended
In an event survived
by two of us alone.
The tragic accident
With one happier dream;

as we stare for months from
plaster casts at open
eyes across the room – heads
in a cartoon-like wrap –
your eyes like oil vents loosed
and set fire in the night

And that oil drains downward
to soak our sweat drenched casts
our two hospital beds
in the desert, they melt
and we walk slow to meet
and this under dark rain

burning rain – we are one
we were only standing
sparsely chatting back then
now we melt into
puddles of each other – and
the dark oil rolls onwards.

II

Your fingers tap cleanly
on the deep red plastic
suitcase – where will it end!?
I would say hi, open
the suitcase of futures
allow random packings

to array themselves – smile
you smile as I walk by
the bus’s lit windows.
It had to be raining.
Now, not only can I
not skateboard but dwell, too

on your face, this soft chance
which for once makes the sharp
butterfly wings softer –
an anxiety lost
and gained this idea
of our nights together

in the Sevillan shade
sharing an orange – peel
of our clothes scattered on
the warm tiled courtyard floor
as I whisper in your
deepest ear – what fragrance

The suitcase slipped out
of your grasp – rolled and I
caught it, its dimpled shell
shining under bus lights
this cavern of hard flesh –
but what am I saying.

Loki

Okay. The colours of the world
are so bursting from everything
when I drive the car home that I cry
or almost – just to see the patterns

how subtle, how elementally subtle
there is no easy way to say this
how the greens between greens are vast
hold whole languages with space to pass by.

the trees at the traffic lights, with branchmass
reach out for a future less worrisome
in a concorde of orange, yellow, and greens –
Fireworks pretend to the complexity

and brightness of these trees.
This is not hyperbole. Reach, I say.
I go home and make the beds
for my family, forget the night –

except your eyes, holding mine
like a caught spider in their blue fire
never relenting, and your smile. My friend,
I create endless worlds to match it

The Unplanned

What better way
to give the lie
to Descartes

than to stand
in the muggy heat
here, on the periphery

where seed foam rises
up between us –
the city in a depth of shade

Where cloud and sun judder –
undecided
who will win the day.

The heat and sweat will have it
drawing the patchwork
city deeper into distances.

No one mind held this.
And yet – here it is
Miyazaki perfect.

Dame Autumn Hath a Mournful Face

After John Atkinson Grimshaw

You don’t yet know the fae.
Its church arches and bones.
It overlays on the trees
which become a seething delta

How the pools reflect black
to spite what they note above them
never sure of the horizon
your gaze wanders, unceasing

thin and twisting flowers
the green, and floating flakes of gold leaf
the faintly blue of the night
then, which slips alongside – her;

uncreasing the folds between worlds –
her insect wing-shimmer. And bright
shines one thing nakedness can do
mournfully at you, with a crown of flowers

The fae curves just like this.
It worships with patient light
that which you may worship.
If she wants you, touch the canvas.

Dark Dogs in the Morning

The darkness fell onto me like a fever
stirring – stripping and dressing in cold
I picked up my phone, and wiped breath from it
Weak coffee. I left the house, slid doors,
the dogs pressed against me – flickering
buzzing, sparking – something was up
but I didn’t know what.
            I set off

seeing the shoals of mist swim
in morning dark where day is forgotten
and the choral synthesiser drone of stars
shook me, made me shiver – I drowned it out
with my headphones. Walked out
with my pathetic torch across
the wood and farm-land in the mould black
morning – marvelling at the absolute lack
of magic, there in the dust-clump wood.
I glanced around me, saw nothing
thought ‘but wolves, but wild boars’
I smiled, took a fast pace down
the bend to the flood-plain
where I imagine the flesh-fade
of dawn began to apply itself to night

***

Later on return – left tracks
in the forest frost grass from the mansion
to the servant’s quarter
my breath was even more eager than I
to get to the house, it ran ahead
but stopped suddenly – a dead deer
half, half-eaten, eyes open
as the ground is open to the falling
sat there, on the cold patio.
Poachers only want the hind-half
I later learned – I felt the cold fur
brush past, long hair of the black dog –
thought; you were excited for your find
I left you behind. I’m sorry.
She took the skull between her teeth
and cracked it. From the cavity,
the night came flowing back…