A story of caresses and sorrows
A few poems found in various drafts in an old battered folder from 1995, unpublished for years in the hope of improvement, eventually abandoned. Dragged out again in October 2003, tidied up quickly, choices of words decided on the hoof (usually the plainer word sufficing in preference to the cleverer one), and rudely slung online. Who would have thought the tender feelings in these poems were so dear to me at the time? I wrote a lot of poems in the 90s, not many survived.
The Night Air
Standing, staring up,
Up at the constellations,
The Plough high above the roof,
They could almost console me
By the way they stand aloof.
Sparse clouds still like tugs of sheepswool
Stranded on barbed wire fences;
Full moon’s glow silhouettes bare branches,
Dark birds hop and settle aloft.
A tear streams a cheek,
A shooting star streak
As if to say: “It meant no more,
It meant nothing at all,
She tore your love from her heart
Like a vine from a wall.”
Sadness condenses in this air
With the falling dew,
Distilled to a genuine grief.
It may have been shallow
But my belief was deep.
Love fades, like her scent
On the pillow.
Her belongings, scattered
Throughout the flat,
Today gathered up
In a bag,
Going room to room
On an impulse.
Out walking fields a sodden misty morning
The mains hum of pylons pervades the air,
Cables slung low sagging heavy overhead.
Dew-beaded cobwebs necklace bushes,
Cuckoo-spit dashes the back of my hand.
Loneliness’s fraudulent messages
Are drowned by the soothing raucous chatter
Of a rookery’s lethargic stirrings to wake.
The pale tree, just a grey shape,
Its massive crown towering suggests
A tall oak colony of many nests
Through billowed clearings in the mist.
Languorous doleful dawn caresses,
A distant church bell tolls on the wind,
Such glad to be alive gratitude
With my steamy breath in the air.
Her lonely tears dragging her mascara
Down her powdered face and rouged cheeks
Make an instant sadface clown.
Tinsel round her neck,
She sits on the edge of my bed.
I watch her through the crack of the door,
Until a lipstick-kissed cigarette-butt sizzle in a brandy glass
Tempts intrusion upon her weeping.
“Do you understand? Do you understand?”
She kept asking me over and over.
I put my arm around her longing to draw up
Tears of my own, but none came.
“Yes, I understand,” I lied.
“It’s good that you understand.”
“I’ve lived my life in the wilderness,” she said,
“I may as well stay here.”
It was then I think I did understand,
At least something of my own aloneness.
She had already become a lingering mirage.
The deep well
Of last moments
The pail reaches tears.
Wilted blooms, sodden roots.
A butterfly hinges
Its turning page wings
On a moss-encrusted stone,
So do the days pass
Living on my own.
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