The year collapses. Creatures hoard and hide;
The sun’s thin gruel does not sustain; All Souls
Is chorused with phlegm and colds, and man’s pride
Flickers in guiltiness like dying coals.
Fireworks! Flare and smoke in the foggy dark,Crump of mines and crackers like tearing cloth;
A spent hydrangea gapes in the fumes’ murk,
And starved, a fuchsia droops its lifeless mouth.
Windstruck, the sycamore and pollard limeDisgorge their leaves, blood-brown and pumpkin-yellow;
Crackling in piles or mulched with the streets’ grime
They smother boots and wheels, sticky as tallow.
Stripped tree crowns supplicate like sinners’ hands,Ignored by the corn-plaster morning moon;
Birch catkins like joss stick ash hang in bands:
The fairground starling fizzes its showman’s croon.
Mornings are bromine-dull. Ablution-steamFrom bathrooms plumes the air; rime like sugar
Sprinkles the eaves. Post-noon a drowsy gloom
Blanches the clammy light. At dusk a figure
Homes in a breath-cloud, the frost-melt hardensAnd night, plum-black, annihilates the sky:
Rooks before roosting palaver in gardens.
Come dawn and gruff horses loom in the lea,
Herring gulls vortex onto the river bank –Where death pinpoints the straggler with a snapped shank.
====================© November 2012