Saturday, 28 July 2012

Hearts Ease in Winter


Late in the winter night,
all of my neighbours quiet,
I hear underneath our homes
the hum of a great,
suburban engine
warming the street lights’
yellow sodium.

Did some get in my eyes?
My eyes are burning.  I’d choose
two drops of Oberon’s
purple flower, known
to some as Heartsease,
by an arrow-head
newly riven, fresh

pinched-in-to, veined petals
squeezed between thumb and metal:
a drop on each lid could,
in a robin’s flight,
with glycerol wet,
restore my view
of Love’s forgotten quarrel.

Although the days are cold,
begun in long-drawn hours
of yellowed windows,
two drops of Heartsease
on my scalded eyes
would awaken me
to a sky near Athens.


Hearts Ease was published in the January 2013 issue of The Dawntreader. I suppose it's a bit trite to say I'm glad to see it in print, but written a couple of years ago it marks a definite step forward in my poetry chase.  I wrote it out quite quickly and then battled with it for weeks.  You know how it is with a word out of place...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Matching the occasion



From a coral sea, on the bed beside me,
a wave along my view, aquamarine:
a wave that rides and rides and yet remains
stretched high and thin, thin as it can be:
finger-thin, in a low-warm, crackling wind,
no higher than a foot, translucent, tall
water blue, white flecks of spray like - static
electricity - this wave beside you
and above me: I am in your blue eyes

and in a pool, below the water's bourn,
where no sand lifts at all, no current stirs,
the water's still and thick as glycerine.
I see two pebbles, black and smooth, though out of place
both quite at ease, like you and me in double beds:
that is, two beds in holiday rooms pulled-to,
iron summer, in winter, painted wood,
separate, together, in warm or cold
two coddled eggs in a steamy poacher.

And here's my birthday card, in lurid colour,
my bedside picture of a happy couple
like lions rolling on the occasion,
both handsome, gazing in each other's eyes.
His sunglasses reflect - they must - blue skies,
still lake, see the sun and mountains, and bright
a petal-garnered border, red flowers, lips:
we watch them reflect on their willing world
in which we match completely.


This poem came to me on the morning of my birthday, a month ago, in bed and in that usual hypnogogic state which so many of us unhealthily rely on.  The mechanics of the piece aside, the night before my thoughts in general on poems had been: match the image to the emotion, and so I came-to, with a couple of images and my blue-eyed Helen beside me. Happy day.