OUR VHS TAPE

Sun’s in me eyes

Lifts the colour right off

The sky and church roof (side view)

Are the same blue

There’s our Mary by the style

Her coat bleeding scarlet in the shade

Low winter sun

Erases strips off the mountain

Where the tree-shadows stand on

Bit of mystery there in these old trees

Zoom in and pan the rolling horizon

Hands and breath shaking with altitude

Ice in this here puddle shattered

Cows bow their heads to the sun

Shadows tracked mud at their feet

There’s meat on that alright

Their breath trails left by steam trains.

 

Old mill clock still going

Old quarry face

Old cobble still here

He stood still here

All these bankings full of heather

Railway line – disused

In t’garden outside t’window with our Mary’s pots:

The bird-bath

Where a wren perched to tap its beak against the frost

 

History outlived him

When the camera turns to him

The wind takes his voice

He stands still here

He does not split under the lense

As the old mill chimney did

Shattered in a puddle of rainbow static

He is only a pause

In film

A bird spotted

Flat-capped in a blue-coat

 

A sharp intake of Oh

As a blackbird escapes

the footage.

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GIVE

The ice on the lake is giving

The rain pummelling the Earth for its sweetness

Everything has a tongue

Salivating wind and fire

All hungry for a bit of me

I’ve become enough to weather this

Pawing, stripping, hungry gnawing

A Cailleach teaches me

How to let fire fold over my arms

I have my winter pickings

Unspun wool, bone, rosemary and pinecones

The fire can take my dead cells

The wind my hot breath

The Cailleach my hair

The words I spoke

Could’ve been smoke

Sweetened by burning oak among pine

Soon my cuttings will be sapling

The things picked from me seed

The bees will help the wind

Carry stolen sweetness and greenness

Frogspawn will be bubbling in the lake

And the calves will be suckling

And this place’s touch will be cleaned from me

Now at my chest like a charcoaled hand-print

These sleeping bodies piled around me

Warm in someone else’s night.

LITTLE KING

Little King

Needs the calm of height

The distance of a rooftop in morning.

My teeth have the same keenness as yours

My hands the same grip

Uneasy tender violence

A need to be squeezed so all the spaces

Fit, everything held as it should.

Choking reverence.

I can’t help thinking of all the people that will hold you

In ways you can’t bear to be held.

I will hold these visions of you

When you’ve grown beyond them

Become a titan

Your red lump crown

Finger crammed in mouth

Asking for help

With flying a feather

I will hunt for you as they hunted for a wren come winter

A royal smallness to hold Holy

Because I know my Holy has a kick like yours

I know mine comes with claws

Clamouring at my chest

The way you beat your head against the windowed door

Until it was smeared with blood.

THE SPACE BETWEEN

The spaces

Hold more

The density

Of a pause

A rest in

The score

Even from afar

The moon

Can shift the sea

With Her absence

The pull of missing

Tiny tendons

As translucent as spit strings

Webbings of DNA

Constellations between

Lone wandering atoms

There is a pull

Between each of us

There is a silence that seals us

 

MERCY

I can hear the sea

Three floors up in Paris

A dripping thunder

A black out lightning strike

Our shoe-box sized flat

Filling with water like a tank

Bloating my dreams

With floating fish

Eyes wide in ecstatic mortality

Rising

From their own bodies

Like reverted raindrops

Millions of ghosts ascending

Into the gravitiless hook

Of a night sky

Inhaling its own clouds

 

JONAH

He is rock and how untouched

Bound tight in his own permanence

The moon’s indifference.

He envies the hard, shining pebbles, licked smooth

And spat like teeth from the Sea’s lips.

 

Somewhere in all that skull ringing blue

There’s a wail sifting through gloom

Barnacled lips agape

Her tongue a harpoon

Guts a great net

She can teach him to bleed with the moon,

In blindness

From between her pillaring ribs

Grieve every wick he has lit

Every slick of soap he’s scrubbed himself with

And beg his forgiveness.

 

She will dismantle him to shingle

Fill his pink hollows with echoes

Of the tide

There will be parts of him and Her

On shores that know only too well of oil spill