The feather pile in the bin moans
I say, it’s okay, you Crow.
It’s okay. Sleep now.
A last few syllable caws come –
“I’m saw-ree” and I am exhausted by
The real difficulty of innocence
With a faint clinking
the bird bones roll in the wind
taking up shapes
and finally gusting off as sand
dissolving into heaven
or whatever there is
God is there with me in a wheelchair
and we all three cry
for the darkness
and the beauty
and the coldness that has come.
Dove has the last word.
She writes in the sand with her branch
You wouldn’t perhaps have thought it,
but when the world ran out of fuel
there was a beautiful moment –
when, like bluebells emerging
from behind a rotten log
in the sunlight, skateboards, bikes
scooters, wheelchairs, wheels
of a different kind could be seen
enjoying a bright discovery
feeling the wind in their shirts, skirts
and the sweat, cold on the back;
Where the snap of wheels on tarmac
was like applause for a spent era.
They sped down natural speedways
and the flatland, their adopted birth
right, was finally theirs, they ran
from here to there never touching
the floor, and to the footbound were
the world they never quite could see –
something flashing in the daylight
amongst a quiet field. They bled speed
until electric hums seeded and the world
wasn’t quite as theirs as before;
Still they travelled, and never forgot
the days that had been their sport
hurtling along in the faint breeze
feeling the beach beneath their street
shedding a tear at quiet music.
You walk down the unnoticeable incline into
the city. You look to the skies where the weather
systems rehearse a performance they will give you
next time. You see the bowl of the heavens reflect
the skull’s roundness – and all car sounds in its
persistence. You love this. It is, you think, the mark
of a walk’s greatness to array contingency
in its random archways you sigh. And walk on through
the headache as the white grey blues yellow
Oh to be a forgotten poet
Deep in an old format file system
In some corner of the internet
In a bashed banana box
At the bottom of a second-hand shop
And to talk to you,
Living breathing lover of human verse
Who found me in the dust.
You are why I wrote.
In the poets tree, to be,
No trunkline verse,
But an abandoned branch.
Can you put the lines in order?
Can you love, and kill someone with that love?
Can you watch TV with a wry smile and think of witchcraft?
Can you fit paper into a typewriter and roll it slowly through
By pressing on the keys?
By stepping on the ledge?
Can you ring a twelve bell peal with your tongue?
Can you swing in the sea til your arms tire
And you grow as old as you ever will be?
Can you infatuate yourself with every mark you make?
And roll your rs slightly in the reading?
Can you hail onto a feeling
and fail to inscribe it by the slightest mistake. Fail.
Can you fail?
Can you be idolised faintly, saint, by a dying culture
And rest all too happy in a leery obsolescence, a personal implosion?
Can you die? When it is time?
And think on death and dying?
Can you ignore those who think that they know what you are doing?
Can you tear paper, really tear it?
Are you afraid of yourself sometimes, really afraid?
Can you burn, can you burn?
Can you burn?
Can you become righteous?
Then, poet, you can be.
Can you stand on the sea?
Mystic, can you stand on the sea?
Can you stand on the sea?
Can you see?
Did Wordsworth see the bugs?
Did Coleridge sweat, and stand resting
hands on hips, wheezing, attempting
to rest and take the landscape in?
Did he slip with muddy boots, in velvet suit
and try to be poetic, nursing the hot feet
attendant to a walk.
Did Wordsworth smell the daffodils,
as they blinded him in the sun, and
the bugs, again, swarmed round his pad
til he was happy with the notes?
Did he pass the stranger’s greetings
or return them to their owners
gazing down at his feet, hands at his pack.
Did sunburn plague them?
The sweat doesn’t quite appear in print
the ink that hides the work.
And the poet does his best to hide it too,
Wandering lonely as a cloud,
in a cloud, and pad dispersing
Into sodden clods of paper
sinking to the fern.