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 margins

V.27

I would save the world if I could.
I would absolve each and every
facet of the human, take up
arms against a sea of irate

objects that natter on and on
about accidents and essence
with a silence. And I often
forget that light switches are just

incredible gifts as the land
grows fatter and the landlords. Be
ready to assume the mantle
of lord protector, and reform.

Take a selection of books out
and just see how many people
are ready to buy into you
and your taste. It is difficult

to accept we are each so oddly
spaced that our rhythms barely sync.
In a basic sense, but then all
smiles are the same and bring the same

joy. I watch your face luminesce
as you look down and flick pages
incessantly with your thumb. Then
collapse into myself and you

V.18

Silence as silent as rainfall
in the mid-atlantic on fire –
open up on puddles of oil
paint from a sinking container –

then see the faint rain start. Silent
as you, floating ten feet deeper
silence as the waves wash over
determined by ancient causes

of death, of life, of everything
else as you look up through the film
of skin on your face to see bright
young fish darting into the fire

between gulping breaths of water.
Silence as silent as cut rope
sinking into the depth of sea
beneath you, perhaps the last thing.

Silence as loud as thunder’s roll
which rolls on and on and never
falls to earth but holds the soft birds
in dark suspense on the ship wires,

drawn from this satellite footage
of the earth at night, on your phone
as you lie hearing nothing roar
louder each second each second

Respite

Unnanounced in the cities spring up
unattended eddies in the flow
hiding quiet and held in check
by walkers whose solitary paths
attain the force of stone.

And from time to time, erupt
in a long awaited silence
in some valley, some alley in the back
where aerial trees cling drinking
the living city rain, and biding.

A silence which, like a sigh
after a long day’s work and walk
after the bag’s down, tea’s brewing
and you raise your hand to your eyes and rub
and the air empties itself of talk;

So, calm descends in the sun’s heat
And the car-noise lends you pity –
lets you breathe freely, unassailed
by unnoticed constant tack and tear;
the cold stress of a city