Footsteps slacken then speed, hips dip and pivot;
We all walk strangely in our own way in here-
Hands tied in thought,
Keep the feet moving keep the feet moving-
Through brick climbing upon brick
To form the longlonglong
Above the triumphant bricks,
That stand-to-attention the army of windows,
Mist clouds flap like cloth;
Snagged on the sharp spikes of the rooftop….
Keep the feet moving keep the feet ….
Away in the grounds, lying beneath a tree,
I see last year, out-of-reach;
Last year doesn’t look like this,
For I was lying then beneath a tree
Hearing, on quiet evenings, the distant footsteps
Fill the building….
Keep the feet moving keep the feet….
Winds hiss round a ruined sunflower,
Blood clots the hawthorns….
Keep the feet…. Keep the feet….
Slow feet fast feet mad feet moving.
Eyes glare within;
Nostrils stretched thin by effort and strain-
Keep the feet moving keep the feet moving.
Loss, a painful rash, with each step,
Breaks out over and over again,
On the inside of the skin.
For the child has hidden
The bird in his desk
And all the children
Hear its song
And all the children
Hear the music
Turn off they go
And four and four in their
Turn and two and two
And one and one make
Neither one nor two
But one and one off they go
And the lyre bird sings
And the child sings
And the teacher shouts
When you’re quite finished
Playing the fool
But all the children
Are listening to the music
And the walls of the classroom
The window panes turn
Once more to sand
The ink is sea
The desk is trees
The chalk is cliffs
And the feather
In the ancient quill
A bird again soaring skyward
And eight and eight in their
Life, a sparrow’s flight
through a banqueting hall in winter.
In the middle of the hall
A comforting fire heats all within.
Outside the hall existential storms rage-
rain and wind and swirling snow.
Sparrow flies through one door, so soon
out the other that so easily opens.
Whilst inside sparrow’s safe,
yet the bitter eternity beyond
compulsively beckons to sparrow
to return from whence it came.
So we sparrows, for so brief a while,
fly through our haphazard halls,
but of what went before
or of what follows …
we guess everything-
preening our feathers in circular flight
of religious rituals of readiness-
but know nothing…nothing.
The sleeping owl is in the tree all day,
at night he comes out to hoot and hunt.
Do not wait for him to come out
before you play your parts.
He sleeps in the old shrewd oak-tree
but at night, his eyes are whirlpools
and when he floats over the house his spirit
carries the house with it above the oaks
to a lonely shining oasis where calm eyes watch awake
in the moonlight — but our eyes are always dreaming.
Ghosts On Toast
Don’t stand south side waiting for the Ferryman;
hay will not remain another day to be cut;
nor the snow lie in the winding, silent lane
next winter, until the children come.
Rain is insects scurrying along, active droplets
exploring cracks in pavements, being and non-being one.
Inside-outside we must acknowledge and act upon
the birth of each of life’s new illuminations.
Blackberries hang deliciously; clumps of congealed blood.
Persephone slams the door of her Range Rover
and carries the Tesco bags home through mist –
It’s ghosts on toast for the Ferryman tonight.
Away from the shore, south of the border,
familiar voices offer companionship; autumn
amorous starts to embrace summer (Hades smiles)
and me? … I’m still searching for the spring to come