Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Months: January

The poems for March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December in this sequence were posted on 24 February 2014, 21 March, 20 April, 24 May, 20 June, 29 July, 29 August, 27 September, 25 October and 24 November.

Dawn like creation’s moment: fireball orange
Engulfs the sky, inflaming the flat cloud
And searing pink the townscape below; lozenged
Glass flares and freezes, intincted with blood.

Shorn of growth’s clutter, a wisteria prinks
Its picked bones; the tall poplar swayingly
Disdains the bundled shoppers whom cold cranks
Into shop door stand-offs, shrill and unseemly.

And then the snow. From a steel sky it flogs
Faces and legs, creaks underfoot and lards
The common. Gulls, edgy at snow-mad dogs,
Settle, beaten down by its stinging shards.

The iron-bound lake is frozen. White-nosed coot
Ballet-strut its grey slabs, planting arrow-prints
In slush. Snow waves, chivvied by the wind’s shout,
Lap the ice, where thrown sticks protrude, black as flints.

Determined, children build snowmen, cupping
The featherdown to ice, though perished fingers
Produce screams at sunset. The air, dipping
To dark, is mauve with snow. A coot cry lingers.

Despite all, the yellow jasmine has flowered,
Its petals soggy as tissue. Bulbs erect
Their spatulas. The fragile snowdrop, bowered
In ice, droops its molars. Shabby man, shipwrecked

In darkness, racked by bronchitis or worse,
Janus-like twists in the turn of the year’s course.

© January 2013

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A Memory

A boy rapt in his play darted
In some game for the high-hearted
From a gate, fairly impaling himself                            
On the headlands of my sharp knees.
Like wind-bounced bees                                            
He dodged the obstacle and ran
On to glory, giving no thought
To the old man wheezing in poorly health                  
In his way: so with boys since time began.

And so fifty-plus years ago                                        
On holiday: my eyes aglow
In a comic, I fumbled for the hand
Of someone, thinking him my father –
In fact a stranger;
Startled, I hurried to my father,                       
Regarding him whose hand I sought
Not as a person but some faceless brigand,
Forgotten in an instant with a shiver.

But those forgotten are persons
Indeed – subject to death, its lessons
Toughly-taught. Twelve years later my father
Lay dying in his death rattle,                                  
His fraught battle                                                        
For breath defeated; surely that                  
Holiday stranger also fought
And lost. And I, held fast by death the lover,             
Whose hand shall I seek in my final combat?

© May 2013