Blockhouse

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Kingsbrae 19.4
19 June 2017

Blockhouse

We have become comfortable together.
We sit, food untouched on the table,
and play catch-up with our lives.

I tell her about my writing problems
and she tells me about her hopes and
fears for the future now her partner’s
walked out and left her for a younger girl.

Later, I sit in the car while she walks
on the headland by the blockhouse.

Mist covers Passamaquoddy Bay.
There was a time when I thought
she might walk out into that mist
and fade away, but she was strong.

Now I watch her walk away and
know that she’s really here to stay.

Three Visitors

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Kingsbrae 18.3
18 June 2017

Three Visitors

The first one knocked on my door,
called out my name, knocked again.
I got out of bed, opened the door,
looked out: but the corridor was empty.

The second one stood in the corner,
calling, calling … I tried to answer
but I couldn’t unseal my lips. “No,”
the visitor said. “No. Don’t go.”

Lips and throat dry, tongue tied,
I lay in my bed.

My third visitor was David,
and I knew he was dead.

Stand Off

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Kingsbrae 16.3
16 June 2017

Stand off

Yesterday,
a raven and an eagle,
bald-headed,
faced off on the ice.

They stared at each other,
necks tucked into
hunched shoulders,
feathers fluffed,
otherwise unmoved,
unmoving.

Each dared the other
to make himself vulnerable,
to stretch out his neck
for the dead fish lying
beside the ice hole
they both guarded.

It seemed as if
they were waiting
for the opening whistle
that would send them
head to head
in mortal combat.

Immobile combatants.
Slow dance of moving ice,
cracked and crackling.
Sudden swift sparring:
a dance of death.

Beachcombers

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Kingsbrae 15.4
15 June 2017

Beachcombers

Low tide on the island,
the bay haloed with silence.
Wading in the distance,
tourists and school kids,
shapes wading in shallows.

Soft footprints, my past,
through a seascape of echoes:
sand at the Slipway
and
rocks at Pwll Ddu.

Another sea now,
and a similar shoreline;
same light in the sky
as, barefoot, the bathers
still hop and still stumble
over sharp pebbles.

Time walks backwards
and fills me with sorrow.
Ghosts of my mother,
my father, lost brothers.

Clouds cover the sun:
so sudden the tear-tang,
salty on tongue

 

 

Myth Magic

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Kingsbrae 13.3
13 June 2017

Myth Magic

This old world, born again,
renewing itself before my eyes.
My hands reach out to touch it
and I feel it grow beneath my fingers,
so soft, so sensitive,
and my memories as wild
as the delicate deer that tumble
and run to enter the gardens
and plunder red roses
from the holy of holies.

Some days, the warm earth
trembles as those old gods walk again,
Orpheus, Pan, Diana by moonlight,
Narcissus perishing by the pond.

 In our Secret Garden,
Robin song still haunts and enchants me.
Echo calls back from a not-so-distant past
and her voice lingers among birdsong,
soft and long.

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.

Mist

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Kingsbrae 10.2
10 June 2017

Mist

Tisty-tosty ,
this morning mist,
white wisps
blindfolding bushes,
draping our world
with silent birds.

Eyes out of focus,
we squint
at shape and form,
mystery in the magic
of movement,
the air a-shimmer,
spider webs glistening.

Long lost sailors
return from distant seas,
dead warriors wake,
our ancestors walk
backwards in time
to greet us
in this mythical
dreamland that swathes
our senses,
wrapping us
in the mystery of mist.

Pan pipes:
a melancholy melody ,
memories
moving among the reeds.