I Am Here

Some hours,

Several lifetimes away, it seems,

Metalled dancers will hang on to dragonets

That must spit, snarl, duel and – gods-be-kind –

Finish with flourishes.

I am here; this is now. Dark November

I lean back in chair-that-will-be-burned,

Stare up till focus be lost, through the

Sweet branches of my life at

Pretty, temporary sparks that

Bomb and crayon these seconds.

Beyond are the true stars that may

No longer be there.

Around me, beyond my control,

Outside my bubble

Families grow up, Taking their leaves,

Their responsibilities.

Despite the distances I love them still.

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Bored Room Meeting …

Asked the question, you

Screw up your red-cheeked face

In a chimpanzee

friendship-confirming grimace,

Wave a dying-fish gesture at

Paper-strewn tabletop,

Offer, limply:

“We’ll come to that point –

In a moment …”

Behind you, your colleague

Removes bent-framed glasses,

Wrestles with and

Finally opens an

Obstinate window.

Thank God!

I needed that distraction:

That distraction and

the air!

Absent Friends.

Ghosts will come if you stand by an autumn bonfire. They will slip along the edges of your perceptions – those you know that you have and the others – and stand, just beyond touching distance behind your shoulder. It is not alarming; they are friendly now as they have always been. While the flames do their burning thing: throwing sparks at the sky trapped stars and smoke to the winds. Crayon the lawn, the hedges, the walls of the wash house in blazes of shifting colour and darknesses. Warm the side of you that is turned towards it, while the turned away half gets colder.

And it is not that the ghosts are summoned by the fire. It has absolutely no power over them. Maybe they do not even notice the flames and shadows that turn and twist: who knows? If it helps you can believe they are called by your memories (though this is not the case). And they are not just in your imagination: you are really not that good!

But, to keep them there,  you have to concentrate on the flames, the heart of the burning. Glance them only from the corners of your eyes, at the edges of your understanding, where your senses run to haze and recognise nothing other than blurred images. If you turn to look closely, fully at them, they just will not be there. As if they had never made that first approach. For they do not crave your undivided attention.

… and you cannot communicate with them. It is not important for you to do so and they cannot talk, they cannot hear and will not answer your questions. Why should they? Why would they?

But their presence, if you allow it , can be mutually reassuring. Be its own reward. You clearly need that company; why else would they come? And they too take something from the encounter. They understand that they are not neglected; that they remain unforgotten and still play a part, however small in the rituals you carry on.

That, And the Reckoning …

He’s promised to cut an autumn hedge,

Been putting it off – and he knows it –

But this is the time for the shears,

That and the reckoning. For long pendulum moments

He stands: foolish, forlorn, close to being forsaken,

A million and more Perdition Highway miles

From being forgiven. The truth settles closer,

Like a must-wear shroud.

His fingers, fumbling in the act of

Bringing Lucifer to one more forbidden fag

Falter and shake: no boat for him,

That was just chewing smoke.

But he has reality’s answers to seek,

Before the tendrils of insidious truth,

Of Hallowe’en mist strangle the colours

From All Soul’s Michaelmas daisies

And the fallen clock sundown

Summons the oyster fungus shades.