Saturday, 29 August 2015

Night Fishing

I collapse in a collapsible camp chair. The rods point to the sky, the left has a red light, the right a green. The tide is coming in, the grey blue waves blend with the darkening sky until sea and air become one. People become distant: their voices echo and whisper at the same time. The clouds are full of smoking menace until they blend with the sky, the sea which is as still as a mill pond, the tide coming in and lights on the end of the far peninsula that marks a romantic section of the coast. Orange lights on the promenade turn the sand a strange, alien yellow and the fish can be seen, black shapes breaking through the water where the gulls touch down. The green light moves. The pole strains as George lifts it skyward reeling for all that he’s worth. A flat diamond shape hauled through the surface of the water, a skate brown as an earthenware plate to add to the two white shapes already dead on the sand although still twitching as the nervous system ticks on. The tide keeps coming in and I can no longer tell where sand ends, sea begins or where it touches the sky. I am happy to let go and become part of it fairly certain that this must be what it is like in the end. The boom of the waves and the distant bang of thunder on the glittering peninsula.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Obvious Swathe

Airless August. I feel like I’m drowning
It takes a will of iron to keep on the path.
Dry dust snaking between waist high wheat, 
a few green rogues ringing their unwelcome bells
under a blazing sun. 
At twenty something
you have the luxury of projecting
your image into an imagined future:
picture the life that you’d like,
the right people and place. 

A yellow combine travels in a cloud of dust
a streamlined machine, beautiful as a bug.
The driver in a glass cabin, bent forward 
at the controls, cap perched on his head
as he cuts an obvious swathe.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Farmers Take A No Nonsense Approach To Dung

Farmers take a no nonsense approach to dung. 
They sluice the concrete, sweep through detergent bubbles 
until the yard is dinner plate clean. 

Yellow maps on the parched lawn, 
you can almost hear them sigh with relief 
as the flooding rain fills potholes 
and the drains can’t cope with the downpour. 
The chicken doesn’t have the sense to take shelter, 
her feathers darken and plaster the body 
in a way that changes the bird out of all recognition, 
a bedraggled punk rocker lost at the festival 
where normal rules do not apply. 

So it is with us. 
I’d like to take a hard bristle brush to the yard 
and sweep the detritus of our war away. 
Clothes drenched on my skin and the relief of peeling them off 
and putting something warm and dry on again. 
An email alludes to world affairs and concludes 
by making light of a sad situation. 

Ominous, I think. More clouds, more rain.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Clouds Seen From The Other Side

A name of a place never visited still conjures up memories. Here is the grey church built from substantial blocks. The stonemason with his sleeves rolled up, honest work in return for an honest old age. It was his own face that he built. Friends that have long gone still insist on dropping by: it has something to do with the rain, water is a carrier for the distillations of their various souls. The rain patterns the windows in the church. The high window with diamond leading and glass that magnifies the clouds seen from the other side. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Summer Ale

Midnight paints the in-between with cat’s eye green.
A shroud filled with the form of a giant king:
his beard a cloud, his eyes sealed, hands together
in prayer point to the blue heaven.
Heat ticks in spaces sheltered by the wood
the soft pockets that conceal small creatures
in whiskers and fur, a stealthy retreat
from the sky all too clear. Down a road
that winds through whispers sung from the 
shaken reeds a door stands open to let in shadows
as a glass of ale stings and ferments a daytime dream
the scamper of a sleek form woven from straw.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

The Labourer

charcoal smoke clothes
crosshatched hands
scored face
the old timer narrows his eyes
under bushy brows
heavy denim clings
as he spikes
a new hole 
for his foot

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Locked Hoard

Silhouetted against the sky, the cast iron cockerel fantails the winds from within his pagoda perched on the old schoolhouse. 

The streets shuffle up hill, red brick Victorian villas with box hedges. The only exception to the rule is a shopwindow that proves an irresistible attraction to the children flowing out of the school gates.  

Blindingly dark inside the cool interior aromatic with sugar and dust. A grey woman in a grey smock stands on sentry duty in the gloom. The centrepiece of attention is a vast table with a locked glass top, the sort of thing that jewellers display their wares in. Sherbet dips like yellow sticks of dynamite with liquorice fuses are indeed a dazzling treasure. As are the hoards of ha’penny chews - Black Jacks with their connotations of piracy, Rhubarb & Custards in yellow and pink wraps and the compact little packets of Beechnut chewing gum. The illicit joy of sugar stick cigarettes, edible tobacco that looks remarkably like the real thing along with reels of pink bootlaces. Outrageous packets of squidgy pink bubble gum and packets of Space Dust, orange crystals that explode on your tongue. The forbidden Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit. 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Return Of The Clangers

Unlike most revivals, the strange sock-like creatures haven’t been perfected by the smoothness of CGI. They even sound the same and the Soup Dragon still has the power to charm. Michael Palin has the right sixties tone of voice. 

No wonder, having been brought up on programmes like these, that the world of target setting and recording monthly accounts in bar charts somehow failed to set me alight.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Out Of The Woods

Almost out of the woods. 
Intact, with the sense of a job well done. 
Breeze and pollen trace things back to the beginning 
a continuum that starts where the easy way out 
was nearly always not taken.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sunken Sunlight

Knowing that Dad’s taxi service might just have to go on the road any minute now 
makes it pretty much impossible to settle to anything. 
There isn’t time to settle into a book. 
If I make a drink I might have to leave before I can drink it. 
A bright star occupies the top half of the window. 
I listen for phones that don’t ring, 
sunken sunlight reflected my way.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Time Traveller

Time travels when you watch good TV. The mind goes with it. I have been to America. Drunk beer in a diner. When she asks me to pause the action to make a cup of tea I think nothing of it although really, it’s an unthinkable miracle. To pause the action. Shadows on the wall. A movement outside the window like someone disturbing the leaves with a ladder. It’s just the wind. For all of this week a dual weather has been unfolding. On the surface, the days look like they are conforming to a golden summer. Yet this wind slices through any hope of relaxing into it. 


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