V.28

If you listen when the sun rise
continues over the woods, you
can hear them. In amongst the trees
whisper the ghosts of the dark elm

and around them flutter pulp texts
of appraisal and if you then
listen when the cashier rattles
the till drawer, taking payment

for a selection of old books
you can hear them. In amongst the
shelves the ghosts of poems about
elms slip and slide from page to page

and as the sun light cuts through leaves
and bluebottles mate, rattling along
thin old bits of rope, and old stones
once used to rip up grain for flour,

let reading not have been a strange
historical cul-de-sac, let
people lower their eyes, only
let the silence ramify out

so we can hear ghosts when they spin
suspended in the air like leaves
hung on invisible threads, leave
ghosts that hang on the page in braille

On Ulysses

The voices are everywhere. There
They are crawling from the dead
Floater in the bay and taking flight.

The wet walls and eaves are speaking
Can you not hear them – again, it’s happening;
Damp mortar discourses on ibn sinna.

Each wave is its own word
And they pile upon pile upon pile –
we drown in the snotgreen sea

Where a deep priest and thousand-fold choir
Speak tongues to discourage the wanderer
unwilling to take a breath and stay.

Wings of a Book

Books have wings, that is to say
They have pages, and with us pages fizz
In reading, glitter out and draw us in
Building spark and fire in mind and eye
As the letters pile in kindling piles;
From jumping out and striking hold
Of attention (bold and striking attention)
They kindly burn and radiate heat
Which leaves us to dwindle to dregs and drabs
Of a person, held there feeling pleased
In the wound-round wirey web of tales
And leaves us to gape, to brush off convention
Letting our miserable minds out to fly
And in this flying, find our ease.