The furrows’ edges like ancient walls
Awaiting their final ruin.
Like tattered umbrellas blown aloft
Caught between soil and sky.
Beech, ash and oak in hedgerows, by headlands,
Twist in the wind’s busy fingers.
Bides its time, brooding, building its strength
Slyly testing its banks.
Raise ramparts and towers beyond the far hills
Ready to settle everything.
Little nature poem on the day the [third in four years] general election campaign gets fully under way. It all feels hopeless, pointless and ultimately doomed; nothing will be properly ‘settled’ by this farrago, but events beyond our control will finally seal our benighted country’s fate. Trying to be optimistic, but it’s hard. N.
This the subatomic beat of unrecorded time
That accommodates infinity
And where all may be accomplished or undone:
The fraction of a fraction of an inch
Between the fugitive’s foot and the treacherous twig
The curious outstretched finger and the flame;
The millionth of a millionth of a moment
Before two fenders touch, the rope gives way
The bullet strikes, the dagger’s tip breaks skin;
The last chance of a last chance to decide
To burn the letter, cap the pen
Bite back the fateful word.
A house of cards, a coin stood on its edge.
We hold our breath, dare not move
And pray for night to end.
I wrote this piece after walking the dog the other night, following the latest round of stomach-churning, heart-in-mouth votes in the House of Commons that could have propelled us headlong out of the European Union this time next week. (It might still happen, of course, but it’s becoming increasingly pointless trying to follow events in Westminster, much less predict them.) N.
I repeat. No time to linger:
The village bakery
Shuts at noon
And we have nothing
To eat with Brie and cherry jam.
You know we do
But your silver earrings
Are still here on the table
A socket has your cellphone
Tethered like a goat
Your handbag slumps against a cupboard
Deep in slumber, mouth wide open
And you’ll have to ask that chair
If it’s finished with your coat
While all the while your gaze
Rests unbroken on the page.
So I say no more
Breathe out and wait
In silent, humble deference
To a higher power.
The gulls are everywhere
Filling the bright air
With their wheeling mystery.
Where do they go at night
Make nests, lay eggs
Rear their tea-stained young?
Does their quarrelsome clamour
Every bird for himself
Hide a fiercer loyalty?
And could an untempered appetite
Disguise a finer feeling
In matters of the heart?
I do not doubt
Some wise, observant soul
Could lay their whole life bare.
But out here, in their world
Of sand, wind and saltwater,
I am the stranger, and happy not to know.
Which could, I guess, lead some to wonder
What was it we saw in each other
All those years ago.
Equals and opposites
North and south poles
That attracted, touched
And still hold fast together.