Carpe Diem

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Kingsbrae 21.2
21 June 2017

Carpe Diem

Leos love this longest day.
Their sunshine manes
just swell and ripple
with a lion’s pride.

They lick their lips with joy
at the thought of sun,
and yet more sun;
finger-licking good,
this ice-cream warmth
spilling over from sugar cones
that march past in their memories.

Carpe diem
seize the day, indeed:
for tomorrow brings less sun,
and every day thereafter
sunlight grows less and less
until the frosty stars appear,
Orion thrusts his stormy
sword above the horizon,
and snow men
with their yellow feet
stand stock steady
on the lawn.

Waves

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Kingsbrae 19.2
19 June 2017

Waves

Some nights,
the stars leave
their constellations
to walk alone.

The planets, too,
grow tired of company
and shine in solitude.

Where now the Zodiac
and Plato’s Platonic
dance of the spheres?

Who knows why a man
will one day walk out of the house,
and never return?

Who knows why a woman
will abandon her children,
turn her back on her lover,
and look only at the wall?

I only know this: that the tide
is composed of multiple waves,
and that each one lives and dies,
alone on the beach.

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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

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.

Phoenix

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Phoenix

The wool shop has gone.
It survived the winter storms
that whipped the bay ice
into waves of mashed potatoes
that hardened and crashed
against the quay, splintering
its timbers, tearing it down.

It survived the spring time
freeze and thaw that cracked
the sea wall, split foundations,
and wobbled the shop
as if it were yellow jelly.

It survived the carpenters,
the stonemasons, the police,
the insurers that came
with their cameras and their
oh-so awkward observations.

It survived everything
except the lightning bolt
that lit the fire that reduced
the old shop to dust and ashes
from which, unlike the phoenix,
it would never be born again.

Rainbow

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Rainbow

I dreamed last night
that angels lofted me
skywards and wrapped me
in cotton-wool clouds.

The nearest rainbow
was a helter-skelter
that returned me to earth
where I landed in a pot
of golden sunlight.

Red, gold, and yellow
were my hands and face.
I stood rooted like
an autumn tree covered
in fall foliage with
no trace of winter’s woe.

“May this moment last
forever,” I murmured,
as the rainbow sparkled
and I rejoiced in
my many-colored coat.

Bears

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BEARS

Think of pink salmon caught in pools,
plucked from water, tossed to air,
the catch stacked rainbow‑fired.

Winter now:
unsnubbable, lumbering overcoats
closeted, laid to rest;
seeking power in hibernation
till sun from summit melts frosty dark:
fresh heartbeats forged in forest’s night.

Think alchemy:
prime matter moved safely in flask or jar.

Think circus stars:
The Great Bear leads the Lesser,
dancing to the trainer’s whip,
tumbling from their pedestals.

Secure behind bars,
think fallen stars.