He brought down the axe
on those prehistoric stones
that had regally edged his flower bed
public and permanent
undisputed leave to rule granted,
planted, for centuries.
Meaning to smash those stones,
dash them down to size
despising their indestructible
smooth confidence, since
his lay shattered,
he refused to be thwarted by disease,
disappointment and a blunt axe.
Raising his game he brought to bear
great anger and frustration,
torn muscles and brittle bones
screaming, tears streaming in rivers
past slivers of stone,
whilst they remained, undiminished
taking pain without complaint.
At the window in my front room
I watched umbrellas go up the hill
struggling in furious autumn gale
most black, some red or comically transparent
pulled down upon a woman’s shoulders
to protect her new hairdo from the rain.
The Georgian bay window shielded me from rain.
I loved to be alone. That cold front room
with long net curtains wrapped around young shoulders
and the weather beating, shining or racing down the hill
was my castle; huge windows on a world transparent,
sheltered from the furious autumn gale.
Round I whirled, a leaf dancing in the gale,
moving faster and higher, inspired by the rain.
The net meant giant windows were transparent
only from the inside, so to a clunky sale room
gramophone weighted with pennies, I was me on that hill,
before the world could press upon my shoulders.
I smelled the musty net around my shoulders
and knew the world was old and furious, though its gale
and torrential outpouring never rested on our hill,
forming pools in parks where tourists pulled on rain-
coats and stirred coffee with plastic spoons, in a room
where an organ played and people’s smiles were transparent.
When my cousin came, we served homemade sweets on transparent
plates and put on a show. On young shoulders
responsibility for choreography and costume. Front room
filled with patient eyes, we would anxiously regale
our aunties, mums and Nanna with entertainment, rain
dancing in accord, outside, thunder clapping on the hill.
Of course, I grew up, and went out from the hill,
down into murky valleys, away from transparent
umbrellas, aunties and sticky sweets, out into rain
that seemed more inhospitable when it landed on shoulders
bent and bowed with the weight of life’s gale.
But part of me will always dance in that front room.
Meet me on the hill, put a scarf around my shoulders,
transparent rivulets in a furious autumn gale,
blessed by rain, with no umbrella, let us dance in my front room.
There’s a wasp between my fingers
and a bee behind one ear,
Two slugs above my eyelids
and a bird’s nest in my hair.
My body is a tree trunk
my mind a crooked path,
My life juice is a river
my feelings are a raft.
Fulfilling earth’s intention –
imperfect and impure,
with love as my redemption,
intuition at my core.
The tide tipped and turned
Sweep-blow-draining all away.
One cafe remains.
One broken cup man
orders customary chips
and consults his stars.
His hopeful soul
hangs loose in the empty bay
waiting for a wave.
Through the depth of each night, till the dimming of days,
it’s a difficult path to the parting of ways.
For the sake of us all, for our dads and our mums,
The carers will carry the vulnerable ones.
When others step sideways, the carers come through,
to meet expectations that daunt but a few.
Intuition and patience, resilience and smiles,
They will take up the slack for the final few miles.
Robert, the last documented micro-entrepreneur, reached the door of the bank just as the lock clicked. He rushed to the library to access the internet, but austerity raced him there and shut the door. He was cross, hot and thirsty, unable to access vital funds to buy that last drop of –
dripping, pouring, gushing
back to the beginning
ready to run again – water
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.
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.
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.