Insomnia

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Kingsbrae 18.2
18 June 2017

Insomnia

When the gate-keeper sleeps,
who will open the gate?
Dreamland lies before us
but the gate is closed.
Where now is the gate-keeper?

How many sheep must we count
before the gate-keeper comes?
What will we do if he doesn’t arrive?
Must we just stand here and wait?

The sheep grow weary before our eyes.
They age and become frail.
Who now will count the motionless flock?
Where is the gate-keeper? Who will open
the gate that leads to the land of dreams?
Who will open the gate?

Weir

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Kingsbrae 16.4
16 June 2017
Weirs

Weirs are where the were-wolves
bay at midnight as they dance on
cedar weir-poles, stars above them,
the herring trapped, swimming
silent circles beneath the waves
while the white horses, prancing,
dancing, avoid bridle and bit and
the saddle’s leather shame placed
over wild, bucking backs, no blind
-folds here, just dumb fish, circling,
their DNA hard-wired for what
Vikings called their weird, or fate.

Peace

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Kingsbrae 14.3
14 June 2017

Peace

Everywhere I go, distractions.
I-phones bleep, fingers touch
screens, instant news breaks
sound waves on an endless
shore, noise, more noise, car
radios, heavy metal, hard rock.

I must flee now to the gardens.
I must seek out the robin’s song,
find the liquid notes of the water
thrush, search for the oriole’s
magic voice, the cardinal’s
colorful chorus. Not for me the
cheap tweet of the twitter-verse:
better by far the soulful summer
sounds of the natural universe.

 

Wordless Wednesday

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Kingsbrae 14.2
14 June 2017

Wordless Wednesday

All sound has run dry in my
song-sparrow throat.
Words and music no longer flow.
They need eaux de vie,
the waters of life.

Water from a bucket, perhaps,
though I cannot stoop to fill,
nor carry it, without spilling.

A hosepipe, then, though I need
to bend to make the connections
and turn the tap on, and alas,
I am too old and stiff to bend.

Rain, perhaps, though today
it must fall from a cloudless sky.
Who could pray for rain on a day
like today, with sun warming earth
and flowers and my old bones
basking, wordless in the warmth.

I long for the word drought to end.
Silent I shall sit and wait for the word
-well to fill itself with those spiritual
waters flowering and flowing deep within.

 

 

 

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Kingsbrae 12.3
12 June 2017

Fire Hazard

Sad the sacked shack
fire-blackened its bones
still standing its carapace
a reminder
Carpe Diem
of what can happen
when the wilderness breaks in
and shatters our illusions

From flames’ first flicker
tongues of fire lapping
painted wood
raised the alarm
but late too late the firemen

How many houses die this way
how many homes get carried away
in a moment’s flicker of flame
occupants hands burned
nameless their faces forgotten
and
over one and over all
this hot south wind
reeling us in
instigating
instant regret
and
terminal madness

Sea Gull

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Kingsbrae 11.3
11 June 2017

Seagull

… slipping sideways on the wind,
wing tip tilted for maximum lift,
wheeling up and away, magnificent
his movement, the gull-wing sway
as he climbs his celestial staircase,
that blue vault, high in the sky,
upwards, in a rush of indigo air
brushing his black back, fine
his feathers and broad and firm,
cousin to the distant dinosaurs,
those hollow bird bones, built
to bear their enormous bulk,
yet light his flight steps, this cloud
ballerina, treading on tipped wings,
dancing to sky music, white
bones herded by the wind, crisp
their notes, across cerulean pastures,
the wind whistle sharp over bay
and beach, oh watch the gull go
with a waggle of his wings,
a butt of his red-ringed beak
and his bird-tail tagging …

Fête / Fate

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Fête / Fate

Clowns are clowning,
playing up to the crowds.
The stilt walker in his top hat
climbs up to the clouds.
The man on the unicycle
tips his hat, winks his eye
at all the little girls
as they pass him by,
one on a white horse,
one with a teddy bear,
and one who’s invisible
and is no longer there.

 The tight-tope walker
walks his plank
trying not to fall
on wondering,
upturned faces
and open eyes
that watch it all.

The seals do their sea-side thing,
balls balanced on their noses,
tossing beach balls upwards
to the little girl who poses,
then juggles them so cleverly
while the clowns start to sing.

The magician conjures rabbits
and covers them with flowers.
Everyone is happy, though they’ve
been sitting still for hours.

On the trapeze, a little slip:
the artiste falls through the air.
She doesn’t have a safety net.
The silent crowds just stare
at her body twitching there:
yellow sawdust, golden hair.

Comment: This poem was written in Kingsbrae, but I don’t think it will be part of the Kingsbrae Sequence. I wrote it this morning after reading in the online Guardian about the developments circling around Brexit in the wake of the recent UK election and Naomi Klein’s article, also in the Guardian, on The Shock Doctrine. Life is indeed like a circus, as the old song says, but we’re in grave danger of falling off the trapeze.