Catch Up


Catch up

The mask I wear has strings
attached. Two I have tied,
two more hang down like
pigtails, swaying as I walk.

My tongue pulses round
my mouth in search of
that tooth I cracked, yet
afraid of its sharp-edged scar.

It feels as if I have lost
a part of my life and I am
running in circles looking for it.
I guess I’ll catch up with it
someday, and when I do,
I hope it will know me
and tell me who and what I am.

Meanwhile, the mask clings
heavy to my features
and prompts me in the new
role I must play. My friends
walk past me now
and do not stop to talk.

When I look in the mirror,
I no longer recognize myself.
All my ID is fake. The success
of my disguise fills my empty head
with a sudden sense of shame
and I know the sound of sorrow.



Kingsbrae 19.1
19 June 2017


Full sail, the sailing ship, clawing
into the mist. For a moment, only
mast-head showing, then hazy at
last, vanishing, appearing again,
doubt in the beholder’s mind: is she
or isn’t she, real or apparition? So
easy to believe in ghosts and ghost
ships when mist deceives and eyes
grieve for the subtlety of a clear
day, not mist enveloping the bay,
holding the boat back with tenuous
tendrils, ghostly fingers, damp music
on sails and cordage, shallow the sea,
the channel through sand banks and
pebbles, half -seen, yet known about,
both sensed and scented, heard from
water –sound, wave-pitch changing
and lost again the schooner, grey ship,
grey camouflage blanket of clinging mist.


Sometimes they frighten us
tap us at midnight on the shoulder
bring nightmares to our sleep


Dead warriors rising from the battlefield
grave their faces hollow eyes seeing nothing
open mouths flapping soundless


Sometimes they bring life to us
sometimes they keep it at bay
forcing us to move away from what
we know and love and to face life
unmasked in an unfamiliar way



a black-robed devil wielded a whip of wind
with a sea wave for a hammer he broke down our houses
drove us from our fields and struck down our temples

dark was the sky rage
deep was its anger
the sea god rose on stormy wings
his chariot was taller than our tallest house

who will wade in this river of mud?
who will ask for a blessing
now the sky has fallen?

homeless helpless
we seek our living abroad

beyond our hills:
a land where no man speaks our language
and every man’s hand is turned against us