Gale looked outward.
Stared dead at the tyrant approaching.
The wind did not chill her;
She chilled the wind.
Whenever it blew you could be sure
She’d be there, standing against it:
Standing like a poplar-
Drinking wine in the embers,
A tree that fought the enemy.
Cries carried on a breeze,
Watching the world
As it falls to its knees
Because Gale won’t be
She’s a force to be reckoned with.
Lest we omit, from the pulse of our lives
The primality of a noiseless warmth,
Awake against a skin as sallow as the city
And its lifeless lines and cloisters.
Lest we see always with seamless clarity
The governance of chaos' chimes,
In unravelling the little knots of midday light
Tied about our youthful eyelashes.
Lest we lament our blindnesses,
In relentless pursuit of space and time,
Lest we forget those very intimacies
Which lace our shoes as the roots of trees.
And in the ache of prestige which loosens the cobbles
Lest we neglect the ache of being in the air;
Above the weeping of the bookish bends there is
The residue of the primal silence.
And so let us misremember the freedoms children know,
And ambling, intrepid as we came, like lovers' hands
Fall upon a truth discovered long since,
To realise it's our own.
one I wrote as a first year Cambridge student
God knows. I want a love that is like sleep.
-Why should love be like sleep?
-I don’t know - so that it is like death.
~(D.H. Lawrence - Women in Love)
High sun, like lightening, licks upon the illimitable lake,
Lustre like winks of shattered glass at noon;
Propels gentler warmth into the swimmer’s wake
And she sails in absence among the salt of loves several months overdue.
But it seems, the softness of a wave presses its face against her,
As would a crying animal. Soon her wounds swoon
Gulping in yielding glory the mineral blur
And closing their infant mouths in cowardice as at confession.
For she has a front-row ticket to the drowning light,
Watches in tepid woe the greenish circles ebb in funeral song
As the horizon paints itself black in grief. It no longer charms her plight
To think of the sky as sea; you told her to watch the boats where they are
In order to define the end of the earth, and now she is no longer afraid,
Because she knows that you once were, and she’s on paper somewhere.
And now she packs up her let down town, wishing she stayed
Somewhere closer to the sea and the precipice of loving you.
The difference between Monday and Sunday;
A vague salt upon the upper lip of some life apart,
Pages incarnate in an acrid stomach guilt,
And some bread and wine selling out
Before I make it to the queue.
Between the rest, perhaps a better hour;
A few words absorbed, wrapped in cling film
Like the ham and pickle I take on the train,
On the bread leftover from the priest on Sunday. Slightly stale.
For the most part, I try to keep on my shoes
And off the grass. The cling film makes it
Exceedingly difficult to know -
And I can never quite discern
The start of the horizon.
And the irony of it is, I can’t cling to much
Myself. City smog is honeysuckle riding
A summer’s breeze; Singapore slings,
Coffees and teas, and daydreams of you
Are more real than me.
It’s like looking through a car window,
Seeing outside rush away behind you
Before you can think about how beautiful it is.
Like having tired of a masterpiece from which
You expected timelessness.
One which was difficult to find words for
Mr Smith had never thought about
The fake flowers on the drawers.
That beauty which makes death feel ignored,
But looks unripe in any vase
And isn’t right for wedding cars -
Their petals never sought to solve
His seven word soliloquy.
There’s no rose bed on recovery
When after all, she loves him not.
He knows it from their scrutiny,
That untimely unchapped litany
That blush of plush longevity
Adored; while he withers.
Mr Smith’s preferred were pansies,
For ‘their faces crumpled under sunlight’,
He’d shuffle stems like decks; green necks
To warm and sweeten death.
The pansies were his calendar -
Life measured against death
Kept his watches ticking;
The thirsty amber skins were pages comprised
Of how he hated plastic petals
With a pale and putrid pith,
Their purpleness was slothful
And their pulchritude a myth
Of mocking murmurs mumbling
As insipid as the very falseness
Binding up their limbs -
Of the August day in ‘54
When the fake flowers on the drawers
Were white against her whiter brow -
As perfect then, as they are now.
one I wrote thanks to the advice of a very dear friend and a knock-out lyricist
Four walls; a pair of cupped hands.
Jaundiced like an open eye; an open cove
Prescribing solitude to those whom solitude cannot withstand,
And I choose this cold corner which is furthest from the door,
To be where I am not, before
Your proclivities become my own, I write. I write,
My window holds my breath and frosts the world,
The moon in his amber gown, dressed in chatoyance and spite,
Godspeed; dark, dark shroud for naked skies!
Six floors, walls, doors from you am I.
I couldn't write when the sun peered in,
Her inquiry evangelizing the specks of time left upon the glass -
I've heard it all before; God's shining face leaves none unloved (unseen)
but his spotlight has no starlet; so who can see me up here?
We can't see from windows, dear.
I'd live and sing for the cloudless hall
The nursery of misanthropists crawling on the grey cobblestone
And the lilt of the wind on the rose; through squares nice and small -
The peevish moth shudders at the sight of itself obscuring the day through the glass.
It seems we're always in the way.
one I wrote in Cambridge
In my garden, there are cigarette corpses
None of which were ever yours.
Were they yours, I’d have grieved as
Their fires collapsed and their breath grew meagre,
Until the last of you upon them dwindled in winks of ash.
In my wardrobe, there is a shirt
Which I’m not sure is mine or yours.
Were it yours, you’d want it on your back
And not draping you across my mornings as I dress,
Yet I fear I’d miss the smudges you put in my dawns.
In my pocket, there is a note
Unaddressed but undoubtedly mine.
Were it yours, it wouldn’t be written
In such naked ink,
It'd be dormant in that head of yours.
In my mind, there are the ghosts
Of kisses unaware and helpless smiles.
Were they yours too, your jumper would still
Be woven with absinthe, and your arms with mine.
No more than ghosts; they breathe down my neck.
Do they breathe down yours?
One I wrote out of a painful love