Flickers

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Flickers
(1613 & 2019)

a watch spring
this cuckoo-clock heart
fully wound up
time’s ticker flickering
waiting to strike

black hole its beak
poked the world’s fabric
shredded into ribbons
robin’s nest torn
storm-tossed onto lawn

constant this love
its warm ashes lingering
searing holes in shoe soles
soul-sick with yearning
bright bonfires burning

metaphor and meaning
real and imagined
hammering on chimneys
territorial flickers
spring heartbeats drumming

losers of somethings
winners of others
wings lofting upwards
light above darkness
all creature comforts

a spring need to nest
an old man’s need to rest

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Night Light

 

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Night Light
(1578 -1591 AD)

quiet now the house
staircase winds up
that wooden hill
to Bedfordshire
down to drop
into darkness
wait in peace
starlight will break
its light-waves
over your eyes
into your heart

owls in the gloom
round eyes gleaming
a who-knows-what
what watches
a godsend now
this light house light
its lightning lightening
enlightening

sudden comfort
this hand on my shoulder
these fingers in my hair
this midnight witch
bewitching

Senseless

SD 16

Senseless
(19 April 2019 AD)

taste my words
lick them from your lips
feel the roll of your tongue
creating saliva
cranberry choruses
lemon librettos
vanilla vocabularies
gooseberry grammar

fooled are those
cheated of their senses
who cannot sample
savoury flavours
nor test the scent
of April flowers

cancer perhaps
chemo-therapy
Parkinson’s stealing
memories away
childhood tangs
chocolate unwrapped
a Christmas orange peeled

aren’t you pleased
your taste buds
are still teased
by such offerings

grieve
for all you’ve lost
all you are losing
sooner or later
everything will go

last dregs of meaning
draining from your cup

Samaritan

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Samaritan
(1890 AD)

I lived with him
he treated me well

to him
I was the other
yet he fed me
when I hungered
gave water
when I ran dry

I fell ill
he cared for me
nursed me back
to health

he taught me
his language
culture history
traditional skills

he loved me
never forced me
to forget myself
and be like him

he made me
what I am today
a discerner
between
light and dark
still the other

 

Tara Pine

 

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Tara Pine
(1770 / 1977 AD)

maritime jack pine
arm-waving
declamation
sonnet to wild growth
a wilderness now

lop-sided
forest church
spired with birds
crows’s nest
crowning savage
extravagance

radical disorder
flustered
clicking needles
clustered
knitting the wind

salted the air
old man’s beard
sprouting fresh bristles
old salt sea salt

“ill fares the land
to hastening ills a prey”
without a helping hand
to point the way

each broken limb
an olive branch extended
scorched earth policy
salt-sown earth

Lament

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Lament

I remember the hawk well. One moment the garden was empty, next he was there, on the ground beneath the feeder, feeding, or rather, fed. I didn’t see the kill. I walked past the window on my way through the kitchen from somewhere to somewhere, and there he was, perched upon a pile of feathers. Whatever the victim was, all edible evidence had disappeared and only the feathers remained. I guess the hawk saw me, sensed, or caught the sound of the camera. Within a second, between click and click, he had flown.

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I went outside to look at the wreckage of what had once been alive. Feathers and blood. The grim reality of avian life in my Little World of Island View. Between cats and hawks, a great deal of destruction is handed on from generation to generation. But although I have witnessed nature ‘red in tooth and claw’, I have seen nothing like the devastation caused by the avian flu. We tried to follow all the appropriate instructions, but the passerines all vanished and they never came back. We still have a couple of mourning doves grubbing around on the porch and back step, but I can remember counting, one day, sixty or seventy perched in a cluster on the clothes line. Pine grosbeaks used to swarm, now to see one is a big event. We still get the occasional evening grosbeak, but the grey jays have vanished, as have the swallows who used to nest in our garage. We know of a pair of cardinals in the neighborhood, but they rarely visit us. We can hear a Greater Pileated Woodpecker in the distant woods, but they no longer dance and play among our trees. A few years back, we had a garden full of bees balm, but no bees. Last year we saw very few butterflies, though they used to be regular visitors. Our hummingbirds have become occasional visitors, and I do miss seeing them.

I long to see again all those beautiful creatures, the cat bird with his endless imitations, the orioles with their songs, even the sparrows seem fewer and further between. As for the garden, the crows have taken over. A family of seven caw in the trees and visit regularly. They are sharp, wise creatures and I am always bemused by their aerial manoeuvres. They still sit on the garbage cans once a week and announce their triumph to the world. But woe betide if you leave a plastic bag alone at the roadside. They make short work of it with their shiny beaks ad the bag’s interior is soon strewn all over the road for you to pick up and everyone to see.

Okay

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Okay

So, I felt sorry for the squirrel, I admit that. But I didn’t bring him into the house. Nor did I open the door and let him in. Honest. Maybe it was the cat. She’s been watching him all day. Yes, that’s it. It was the cat. She saw him out there in the cold, felt sorry for him, slipped open the screen door and let him in. I could believe that. But no, I don’t know how those nutshells got there. Of course it wasn’t me. You know I’m allergic to nuts and no, that wasn’t me sneezing. It must have been the cat. Or the squirrel. Have you looked for him? I bet she’s round here somewhere. Why are you always blaming me for everything?

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Evidence? I don’t call that evidence? What are you accusing me of anyway? And no, I didn’t leave that tiny crust of bread in the nut pile. Must have been the squirrel. You know I like bread. Squirrels don’t like bread. I bet she left it there. Or the cat. What do you mean: it couldn’t have been the cat? How do you know she didn’t jump up on the counter and eat all those nuts? You’re just guessing and you want me to look bad. She does jump up on things, I’ve seen her do it. She’s always good when you’re around.  She’s not so good when I’m here on my own. That’s why I call her Vomit. I know she doesn’t throw up on your chair, but she throws up on mine. I bet she organized all this, just so I would get the blame.

What do you mean, you’ve left it up to the jury? What jury? You’re no taking me to court for this. Are you? Seriously? I can’t believe you’d find a jury willing to convict me on the suspicion that it might have been me, not on the sort of circumstantial evidence you’re presenting in those photos. And no, I’m not doing lie-detectors or DNA. The jury’s out there now? I don’t believe you. You can’t bring a jury home, to this house, to convict me of the crime of eating your pistachios. Can you? What do you mean: look out of the window? Oh no! You can’t be serious.

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