Pride of Place
My Collective Works
When all the world is asleep,
I am working on their dreams.
There’s no need to write them down:
these creations are made to keep
their secrets in oblivion.
It’s poetry by other means.
That’s how it should be. Discrete.
Charity only redeems
if the donor is anon.
Swanning it, or Water off a Duck’s Back
My dream being your nightmare, I wake up, and let you sleep on.
What was I imagining? Sailing to Cape Finisterre,
I know, is tantamount to throwing us on the rocks.
I have not handled a boat since my very first nightmare.
It’s nothing to do with your dream.
As a boy I floated
my model dreamboat on a string in the Atlantic Pond,
and on my way home a swan battled out of the water
to frap me with her wings, and I abandoned ship and ran.
‘I swear I didn’t even think of raiding her nest in the island.’
My mother consoled me. ‘Your arm could have been broken.
It’s not the end of the world.’
I can tell from your breathing
that you’re on a barge on the Grand Union Canal,
opposite the aviary designed like a circus net,
and we are looking out at the ducks on the water
while our wedding guests dig into magret de canard
in Madeira sauce, and I can hear you laughing.
The Tide Over
For Graham Ross-Smith
I am becalmed in a mind
that isn’t my own anymore.
It won’t stir itself to find
me a shelter on the shore
of wherever I was before.
When the horizon is blind
the radar turns up the sound.
The foghorn of the resigned
meets the lost soul run aground,
and the route back is divined.
So the brain is ocean bound,
flying under its own colours
again. The light breeze it’s found
is just enough. The dolors
of the seven seas lift. More
cannot be asked. Happiness
is not knowing where you’re going,
working your passage, with fewer
sails perhaps, sometimes rowing,
revolving on your own compass.
The neo-neolithics live on:
stone age bonne maman confiture,
stone age goat’s milk yogurt,
stone age vache qui rit,
stone age vin du pays,
stone age poisson rouge,
stone age poussin farci,
stone age boles de picolat,
stone age tarte tatin,
stone age café au lait,
stone age Thuir byrrh
and stone age each other.
The Grammar of Existence
The past tense of see off is saw. What happened
to the beautiful lady? The magic didn’t work.
But I suppose two halves are better than none.
The future tense of saw is see or see saw
And it’s gravitas decides who’s up or down.
Unless the fat lady chooses to stand up and sing.
The present tense of new is now. What’s now new.
But once it is, it’s no longer new nor now.
That nothing really exists is past thinking.