No 12 - September 2000
Love Poem Begun in the Cold Months
‘Dream lover until then,
I’ll go to sleep and dream again….’
Popular song, Circa 1958.
In the vacancy of cold winter, light
merges with moon, each living
on in their own version of twilight.
We begin again, those things
of which we speak in singular.
There is no escape; only
the monstrous cold of plain words
set to inflame tongues with small
irritations, or kindle affections.
We begin again, watch day
bend dawn into dusk, imagine
we must write poems to enter
the world as newborn children.
So many angels beginning to breathe,
to evoke the essence of calmness.
This country of lost souls,
and I dancing to so many tunes,
time out of mood,
condemnations and praise.
Your face twists away in a swirl
of skirt; I cannot help thinking
of the next move, the need
for strategy, forgetting
what is or is not beyond reach.
My metamorphosis through
the long drone of adolescence.
We learn the motion of acts of will,
the landmarks of place
illuminating the empty page
to harmonise opposites.
It begins as a scarce stirring
of twig and grass barely touched
by light, a sudden sweep
of breeze that bursts like bells
on Christmas night, the earth’s
tremble ample in the swell
of certainty. And the words
too many to close the circle,
amassing like candle light
in shadow, as hearts swell
in the frosts of winter.
And so the hawthorn lifts branch
to pause on horizon where
land proceeds no further.
Untroubled by the rush of green,
out in the endless sky
your wake has trailed in the blue.
I have questions to put as always,
but your head is still trembling
in cloud, the afternoon quiet,
a monument to your smiles,
impeccably at ease,
apple sweet, and seeking water.
The warmer weather has broken
soil, it strides in green runnels
dissipating the anxieties of farmers
and gardeners. I watch you
bent to your task, shoulder churning
the soil to a fine tilth as you
wonder what to do about gardens.
The world is so formed and built,
the air crystalline, the heart sun-fed
like the tendrils of a shrub in spring.
The hardness of wind is a dream
of bad trees branched with needles,
days goitred with a chaotic husbandry
of shrub, small detail in a garden
you have forsaken, as sun
floods the garden with monotony.
For a time I wonder what
news you wish me told
running out of words as night
restores itself, and your
breathing rises as the countless
swirls and swatches that delight
the passage of hours to recline
unhurried. I dream of deep fur,
wholesome greens, blue waves
on glistening flesh, oxygen on
parted lips. And the place is mine,
voices speaking of thirsts.
Borders stray into truth, the best
of plans, breathe sunlight.
You watch, listen to the drift
of argument, wealth in a time
of passing which draws us back.
We breathe, we listen.
Detail might be ignored
out of season, humming
into the fire, we chart
a place where names collide,
that startle night alive
to surprise the morning.
The last possibilities are the words we speak,
the bed you clothed in white linen,
long mornings that rescue the day.
All is known, understood, balancing
forces that cannot be explained,
that might pain like a raw wound.
So this is love, falling from the smokey sky,
looking so much like the prunings
of a gnarled vine. I have the feel of it,
have learned the words that speak it,
that give birth to themselves.
We have been lost, are begun again.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The