Facing backwards on the train
to see the place I’ve been, again,
to meet the people facing me
whose eyes reflect what I can’t see.
The world behind is a surprise
that meets my back before my eyes,
and if I never turn around
I’ll never know what I have found.
A good idea
the coffee cup
with my name on
when ordered up;
A shame the man
upon the train
went to great lengths
to hide his name;
It would have been
a chance to meet
the friendly face
in the window seat.
Can you find me a fish that is holy,
as you say you wish us to be?
It is tidal, this water we’re swimming,
and it’s teeming with difficulty.
We live in contextual rockpools,
and cling to our rocks when it rains,
so principled thought might cause ripples,
that shatter our barnacled brains.
Can you find me a state that is noble?
Doesn’t sell out for money or power?
Incorruptible in all its dealings?
Or does sweetest milk always turn sour?
If we cared a bit more about people,
they might regrow their courage and strength
and cling less to the rocks that divide us,
and believe they can swim the whole length.
The oceans of mind would flow outwards
our fellows in plight would walk on,
not burdened with mass self-destruction…
Believe it or not, we are one.
Oh, how I love you:
I like to taste your sweetness
and feel you upon my lips,
I like to bite and chew you.
Sometimes, I choose your dark good looks,
Others, your milky whiteness,
You are my delicious treat –
My comfort, my reward.
I love you best
when I can’t have you,
when you are barred from me.
Sometimes, I break you into pieces
and share you with a friend.
Then, I clean my teeth.
There, decked in eiderdown, you lay counterpaned,
teased by a tide neither in or out,
held, for now, by four corners of an empty room,
inhabited only by the reluctant heartbeat of a sea bird,
aching to be airborne, or at least tethered no more.
Quietly, I awaited your departure, and wished your feet
be warm and your mouth be moist, wished most
your two new wings be sound and strong.
And I waited all night at that harbour wall
then set a breakfast plate, to see you fly again.
As the sun poured grains upon the crooked earth
I danced with our memories, and thought you smiled.
Then you untied me from your wrist, so gently;
and my eyes spread a mist over imperfections.
Thin limbs, sore lips and chest feathers a-tremble
you stood and turned to breath the ebbing waves.
Oh, I might have intervened, but you could only fly
whilst I must walk along the beach and meet you by and by.
Go! Grab my hand as round they spin our wheel
and clasp my elbow, squeeze until we know
what grit and raw humanity reveal.
Move desperate lips and look at me and shout
so we can hear above the grinding cogs
come, let the depth of our intention out.
There’s more to this than meets the eye: we fed
those queues to throw our pretty lives away
and now our day is spun with puny thread.
Don’t stand in line, capped, waiting to be real
this wheel will never cease, but we can find
what grit and raw humanity reveal.
It was too late to say that he loved her,
Too late to say the unsaid,
Too late to put his arm round her,
Too late, since she was long dead.
The wick of a life isn’t license
to hope for some miracle cure
for dilemmas and bad situations
that lurk behind eyelids and doors.
The saying best later than never,
is a get out he could not append,
when he turned up just after the funeral –
love’s candle snuffed out at the end.
When Christmas comes so loud and cheer
to decorate another year,
unwrap us from our worldly ways
and let us spend these next few days
reflecting on the love we feel,
when hands are held and hearts reveal
the gifts of friendship and support.
– Let’s fill our stockings with kind thought.
With luck, legs will bear us. With grazes, tumble through childhood. With nourishment, grow and travel light. With music, dance and sway. With care, carry loved ones. With work, bend and callous. With weather, ache and change. With rest, endure to serve us. With wear, reflect our age. With love, bend for others. With time, fall away…
to call again