Sentinel Poetry (Online) #37
3rd Anniversary Issue – December 2005
On the path
as it dips and curves to the gate
scorched scraps of paper lie,
with brown borders tipped black the fire has chewed,
like parchments made to look old in museums that spell out history.
An Italian scrawl of words
occasionally survives like a cypher or code
there isn't enough of to break,
I manage to read into discarded love-letters,
unravelled by knowledge girls last week from
walked that same silly spot,
and, as they do, maybe made a solemn bonfire of romances that had got tiny.
A message in a bottle,
even before you broke it open,
would speak lines and lines of romance, wouldn't it?
A Monk’s Lament
Gripping my balls I intoned psalms
to sweat out the devil,
joyously suffered bone-chilling matins
to snuggle within heaven's prize of ribbed arches and soaring tower,
on this earth, glory be, count eternity and touch infinity's walls.
But now my spirit roams this roofless mockery,
stops short in truncated cloisters
that do not circle back
to chant my oneness with our creation.
I am without home in bits of grass and stone
once housed a towering immutability of shape,
witness to a new dark age where
triumphant echoing chambers
in their rock-hard holiness
lie in ruin,
where in what must be bestial times
endless song and penance that kept my private parts apart
in their soulless torment,
while the rest of me was clean,
is no longer seen to be heaven on earth.
Keep It Up
Straining back to cast a cursory giddiness
over dale's sweep,
point head down to incline like an old man
to downs' sharp slope
and step on like picked-out clods of earth
to plateau an equilibrium
though can't stop in my stumble up,
to do so would invite a fall, from pantheism,
and could graze my skin.
I can recall childhood's dares climbing up chalk-faces
in the downs' sheer fear
you were never going to make it,
I stand on the top
where prehistoric man trod out snaking clay trails
the glossy bumpf in the ramblers' shop says,
and get my breath back,
nod at other weekend wallowers in nature.
The horse-shoe of the downs opens out on stretching horizon's patch-work green tones
where gliders swoop low released by planes drawing a pencil-line in the sky,
lovers continue to embrace in curves and folds.
I take in in a gasp my role
in bushes, fields, mounds in their endlessness
that shape a cultural niche for me
I can still manage
once in a blue moon
if I really concentrate
and remember the moves.
Then I can turn over and fall asleep.