Brexit 2

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So, I called Mrs. May, the British Prime Minister, this morning, in search of clarification and she very kindly agreed to send me the road map she had drawn up for Brexit. As you can see from the above photo of the road map, it is very simple: the truth of the matter is that in Brexit ‘the truth points the way’. So, just follow the arrows and you will arrive at a satisfactory solution that will please all parties.

Thank you so much for this road map, Mrs. May. It reminds of the RAC maps that led us through France to Spain by following one straight line that never deviated. I remember trying to follow that one straight line through Bordeaux one year, in the rush hour crowds that followed the end of a soccer match and a rugby match. Marvellous. I can’t remember how many times we got lost in the twisting turning narrow streets we encountered when we once took a false turning, away from the packed streets of revellers, while looking for our RAC booked hotel.

In the end we  picked up a street urchin and he drove with us for another half hour tour of the city before we realized that he too was ‘just taking us for a ride’, so to speak. In the end, we stopped outside a large, five star hotel, unbooked, and spent the night there. My my father and I were in the elevator, going upwards to the Nth floor. The elevator stopped and three large, husky, obviously foreign men walked in. They looked at my father in great surprise and one of them spoke to him.

“Tis the map of Ireland written all over your face,” he said in a thick Irish brogue. The other two nodded their agreement.

“Yes,” said my father in an even thicker Welsh accent that he had picked up working in the Rhondda Valley, “I am Irish, but I was born in England.”

Ah, road maps: they lead you anywhere and everywhere. You can always trust them. And they always turn out just right in the end. All you have to do is follow that one straight line for page after page and never deviate from it. Ask the RAC: they will tell you.

 

Tigger’s Return

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Tigger’s Return
aka
Recrossing the Rainbow Bridge

I opened the car door. He ran across the parking lot,
jumped into the back seat. “Where have you been?” I asked.
He thumped his great tail, sniffed, and licked the hand I held out.

We drove back home with his head thrust between the seats,
his paw on my shoulder as he licked my ear and my face.
I pulled into the garage and let him out of the car.

He raced to the road, surveyed the neighborhood,
and drilled an invisible hole into the snow. I whistled.
He ran to the door, whimpering impatiently.

I opened it and he bounded in. “You’re home now,” I said.
He ran to the cat’s bowl, lapped some water, scoffed her kibble,
and curled up under the table in his usual place.

At night, he lies beside me, a fluffy spoon carved into
my body’s curve. Each morning he walks through the kitchen
and doesn’t make a sound. The cat bristles and hisses.

He’s sitting beside me now, head on my knee, as I type.
I haven’t told anyone that he’s back. They’d think I was mad.
It’s good to have him here even when nobody else can see him.

Limpet

 

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Limpet

… like a limpet at the sea side
she clings to her inner rock
as the incoming tide
causes waters to rise,
threatening
to sweep her away.

A wind charges
over the bay,
brings a wave-surge,
white water, urgent,
crashing against rocks.

Rock-face
showered and shocked,
the little limpet
clinging on,
knowing that this
is the way
limpets survive,
from day to day,
from generation
to generation.

 

Shadows

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Shadows

My front door stood open,
but I thought I’d left it
closed.

I tip-toed in and called:
“Is anybody there?”

Echo answered
‘… there, there, there …”
then silence.

I walked
from room to room,
startled by shadows.

I opened doors,
looked under the table,
searched behind chairs.

Nothing. No one.
The house stood
still and empty,

save for the fear,
the silent fear,
that lurked
like a remembered cancer
and occupied each room.

First published on this blog, Shadows, 27 April 2017. Here now with some minor changes and a voice recording.

 

 

 

This Carving

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This carving may be gently touched

It doesn’t act like a bear.
Its head bears a Cocker Spaniel’s short, sharp stop.
Its jaws are wedged in a grin.
Its tongue hangs still.
No saliva drops from its chin.
Motionless eyes.
This carving’s tame.
Children may sit safely on its back,
may stroke the mighty muscles.
It’s perfectly safe.
Woodworm, like moth, have left holes in its back.
More: many a crack ensures its tameness.
Its shoulders hunch.
Sixteen wooden claws chisel the concrete museum floor.
It’s nearer ear is chipped like my grandmother’s tea-cup.
There’s lots of room for slips between cups and this bear’s lips.
I can sense death’s closeness.
Suddenly, I know you’re in there, Bear,
alive, alert, angry, hungry.
I feel you move:
cold sweat covers my false, carved skin.

Mist

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Mist

Mist and I lose my bearings:
men become trees become men
and the clammy damp
waves through my bones.

Hollow sound of my feet
where wraith-like white
pools in the street.

I whistle:
and the moon gleams bright
with whitened teeth.

Comment:

So much mist in town yesterday, all along the river, and winding out from the river to the road. Beautiful, and so mysterious. Shapes shifting, looming out from the trees, then fading back in again. Cars, so difficult to see, and regular landmarks magicked into never-before-seen monoliths so I had to slow, and squint, and double-check all those well-known streets and directions. A baffling world, it was: in its magic, truly mystifying. 

This poem is from my first poetry collection, Last Year in Paradise (Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1978). It was published by Fred Cogswell, a wonderful New Brunswick poet and editor who gave help and encouragement to so many young poets.