I'm just putting some poems together for my trip to the Beehive tonight....
On the shingle stands a gathering
wrapped against the chill faint breeze.
The recent rain has swelled the tide
to an almost blue: though not quite.
The iron-stone beck bottom still
taints the water's tone from sky;
and I break stride, upon the farthest side,
curious to watch the little crowd.
Reticent, with an urging air,
like teenage girls about to kiss,
or boys set upon some dare
they know will strip of innocence.
Each takes the earthen pot in turn,
in turn to take their last goodbye
around the congregated friends,
until back into its spousal hand.
They jointly say a private prayer
or perhaps some verse from the heart,
as the sun breaks weak from cloud
to light an elm in single shaft.
Then to the water's edge she goes
the last remains clutched to her breast
as if she holds a branding iron.
She goes alone
to the very edge, as to the sea.
Unscrew the cap
half-bent she kneels.
A thin stream blusters in its reverent pouring out,
as steadily as she turns her wrist
until, at last all is gone.
And I walk on.
And I walk on
turning back, only once, to see.
Or row on the river with the boys
and the castle on the hill,
and watch the drinkers at the riverside cafes.
Shall we follow the current
to under the willow
to the toothy smiling darkness
behind the door of brushing leaves
and cry 'mind your heads', and laugh.
Or climb the ancient stone-cut steps
between the pastel walls of gardens
with stooping gates
and rusted hand-turned rings to open.
And listen to the sandaled feet
pattered rush to catch the dream
of what might lie dog-legged behind
the corners of the twisting climb.
Smoking; he stands by the apple tree, they bought
when they came. And, into his thoughts comes the word...
Somewhere he read it is always raining.
A falling mother gathers unto herself,
both swelling and clearing the path of descent.
The cigarette droops on his lip, almost touching his chin.
Thinking of nothing his mouth tastes of nothing
but condensed smoke turned to tar: asinthin and disgusting.
The swollen mother, subject to friction, jellified
silver; a sac held by motion: obeys the laws of time.
He spits the burnt-out cigarette like an olive stone.
Picks up his saw, and begins work again
to add to the pile of branches: that he will burn.
And as he saws, the teeth gutter on the green wood,
slip wet from the cut, hack the living wood in grinding shreds.
Only a laser can see that moment when a raindrop bursts.
When in a vacuum of lubricosity the laws of time break.
And, the parts conform to the terminal velocity of the whole.
The branch tears and twists away leaving a ragged, lacy spike.
He drops it. Rotates the pot. And, begins on the next easiest branch.
He thinks to himself, that he might use this metaphor of rain:
to explain, where it all went wrong, and evaporated:
when drinking whiskey in a darkened snug with strangers.
Perhaps by then he will have expanded his theory, to include the physics of clouds
and a description of the centrifugal force that creates a mother.
He turns the pot again, and again, but then he doesn't cry.
Instead he thinks of the sigh, on the children's ward,
when told by the doctor that she will live.
In the moment before she said she was leaving.
And instead of the Nobel prize, he shovels stamped coins into a machine.
And instead of an audience, he bitterly explains to the nearest disinterested person.
The tree is now a shapeless stick.
The one thing that was ours.
Of course they say 'they'll be friends', to friends; and civil.
But he cannot forgive her; for loving his daughter.
The Shape of Rain
Absolent as the flap of my pocket
around which rain escapes,
chilled, to trace the veins of my hand;
winter numbing rain.
Numb we close to sight.
Projecting with the fight of enfolding shoulders.
From above we might see.
See ourselves mimicking our torment.
But we can only feel
with plodding steps.
(variations on the verge)
Outside the neon verge of history
all lives virga on the wind as icons.
Once we learned only of kings.
Now we learn only of types:
of parts of us we dare feel or deny
never touching soil,
never being soiled,
never being soil on the verge
of the road from the past.
We measure out by branching class.
And birch, to purge something
without sunlight or edge.
Rimless as the swinging rod
falling to make stripes.
Thus by the mark
shall we know their type,
and no gentle rain
shall ever bring them blood
to boil, or run cold, with the fickleness
of real people.
I see them now, hand in hand, hurrying
late for school, on empty bellies; again.
But I don't see the child I first saw,
two, maybe three years ago.
The one with large optimistic eyes
keen to learn,
with a easy way of making friends;
if a little shy.
Now the missed baths on Sundays
have begun to show.
And, smell less than the lies,
however well intentioned
by a sistered proxied parent of barely seven.
You get used at the school gate to pain.
The child bravely turning blind,
the child who might die at anytime,
and the small aches of the playground
that you know can be kissed away.
But some scenes remain.
Like those two...
like those two
caught in that moment of lick combed dressing
dodging the road, late for school breakfast.
starts at 8 for 8.30, at the Beehive on Westgate... do come along....