Leeward

They stripped the trees for fuel those men
For warmth against the whipping, sand-armed winds
Brine-filled, little could grow above a sapling
Yet still they cleared, cut, split
Oblivious to their future
Straight poles for the roof and rafters
Turf topped, thick walled, their beast lived with them
They traded in copper and tin along superhighways
Westward, today we feel remote
Galleys of the Med; longships from the north
Curragh to their cousins in Ennor, over vicious seas.
What of them today?
Their village, long abandoned, leaves only mysteries
The sea is higher now, the wind blows colder
Where they saw land, we see rocky stumps
Where they saw crops, we see gorse
Where they saw hills, we see tors
Where they saw woods, we see a single tree
Combed over, brushed across,
Stunted windward, flared leeward
Shaped by forces aeolian, clues to their passing

Leeward

Dark Oktas

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None for a Summer sky, celestially glimmering, lavender, rich with sound
One for the arc of night, moon-lit, a promise of midnight rain
Two for her smudge-lined sketch, high, over a Play School house
Three for an April storm; fast-racing, surging, drench-me-quick
Four for Autumn morn, back lit, burnt umber and red
Five for urban up-rising, flat bottomed, threatening yet bright
Six for the Hammer God, chimney stacked, brooding, looming
Seven for Winter’s warning, a herald, on the very edge
Eight for the blanket, dark as eve, doom-laden, smothering

It snows cherry blossom

There’s an ash tree in our garden
An adolescent, flushed with attitude of youth
It shoots out and shoots up
Not needles but keys, that dangle lank
Copious and voluminous, like a fertile vine
Come Autumn, when the wind whips and swirls
The air fills with the parachuting medals of
Maple and sycamore, spiraling, twirling
Their Viennese waltz, dizzily round
The ash keys, are more direct, a tango perhaps
Keen, forthright, intense, they snap and fall
They fill the drains; block downspouts
Yet are pretty for it just the same
None though, lights me up as the way
Cherry Blossom illuminates the Spring
White, like icing flowers or a touch of silver mascara
On a smoky eye, it rises like dust, glinting in the early light
that spears down from above
and then settles slowly, like Spring snow
or my love’s caressing hand upon my knee

The grass between my toes

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Today I stirred through the stone clad streets of our city
bear footed, thick soled, I padded
purposefully, confidently, cautiously, at times
but always feeling the ground beneath
the gravel, sharp and rootless, biting
and shifting underfoot

setts, crackle edged, deep-recessed, northern-rooted
smooth tarmac, warm, swarthy, vibrating gently
with an imminent car or bike
Hopping up a kerb, I scuttled into
a steeplechaser, bounding, leaping
my course the potholes or unseasonal puddles

But for all this I want to feel the grass
between my toes, it’s sword shard edges
breaking swards to release the smell
of first-cut lawns in Spring
a snaking path through oxeye daisies, buttercups
shining nettles best avoided are there all the same
spurring me on through that way
with the grass beneath my toes

Low light

Early morning; it feels like I am heading east
But the low, back-lit winter sun scrambles over the horizon behind me
Sending lighthouse beams skimming over the grass
In a tree, slumbering pigeons blink to life
Chunky grey balls; camouflaged Christmas decorations

Dazzling flares of reflected light dazzle, hillbilly headlights
Mounted on ‘roo bars, off the panes of cheap double glazing
Chickens, loose in a field purr to life like an accelerating motorbike
Off in the distance

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Red sky

This morning, the warning, from he that tends the sheep
A watery sun, but the flames are not dowsed
It burns and scorches and chars
Yet all around ice, underfoot cracks
And lines the ‘rows with trident barbs, the frost king
Trees stand sentinel, their branches a candlelit silhouette
Root like, upturned against the bands of orange cloud

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