Saturday, 20 February 2016

A Rowan Tree

In the grey mist of a September dawn,
   Chill with drizzle, a rowan tree,
Huddled like a watchman beneath its lamp
Of clustered berries, issued from the bourn  
Of night. Those berries, richly red and damp,
      Shone flatly as though black 
   Were cindered with their hot-coals glimmer; 
For not dull autumn with its rust and lack
But the rowan with leaves like Charon’s oars
Lights travellers to Lake Avernus’ shores,
   Its waters’ man-destroying simmer.

All that has meaning is earmarked by death; 
   Distracted men ignore this tree,
Its muted berry-brands aglow in dusk,
But comes a day a hand will snatch their breath, 
Then dusty-mouthed like a discarded husk,
      Possessions and endearments
   Become like leaf-fall, friable,
Charon will ferry them stripped of cerements
Across the lake to judgement, then to wander
In asphodels or Tartarus asunder, 
   Discarnate and unknowable.

© September 2013


Monday, 15 February 2016

Months: Lyrics: February

The poems for March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December and January in this series were posted on 14 March, 13 April, 9 May, 15 June, 11 July, 8 August, 11 September, 9 October, 14 November, 12 December 2015 and 10 January 2016.

Ah the foggy, foggy dawns
And misty eves which pierce the bones; 
   Such rat-grey gloomings
   And dead-man loomings,
Fox spoor on the dew-black lawns
And wind-wisps making sudden moans:
Dusk despite all lingers later,
The ditchman, digging, stretches straighter;
   Candlemas coughings quenched,
   Though freezing rains bedamp,
Cherry buds like fingers clenched  
Swell and fidget to untamp. 

The sun like a sucked mint pales the sky,
Linnets and sparrows shout hue and cry,
   Blackbirds forage straws,
   Bright berries tempt the ’daws,
But should a brown-dense cloud throw cover, 
All stills lest winter be not over.

© February 2015