The Things We Had To Say

suspension-bridge

We met on the bridge. You with your words, me with mine,
both of us primed to recite our side of the story,
to voice our concerns and regrets, swallowing deep breaths
ready to contest the wind that rattled the wires around us.

Your ruby cheeks, your white knuckles, O’ you had so much to say,
and I felt the tension tough as sirloin steak, bound to burst,
split, and break at any moment, to quarrel whatever language
I had to muster as I first arrived to meet your gaze.

It was over one hundred years ago that they built the bridge,
to join a suburb and small village. Chains, bolts, girders, rods,
still hold tight together after all these years.

They’ve not broken, nor have they fallen apart, no matter
the thousands of people who rock the length in their marches,
their weight and influence forever carried day and night.

Both lands are held because great men and women
poured blood, sweat and tears to make ends meet.
They worked at it.

So, we decided to do that, follow the good example
to bond our little thoughts so often apart.
We left together, with the rust beneath the paintwork.

Photograph of Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, UK. 

This piece was very much inspired by both Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s bridge as well as Seamus Heaney’s poem Scaffolding

This Land

dartmoor

We met no pixies, no headless horsemen,
nor the infamous black dog

said to range the rivers and rove the bogs,
each reaffirming their mythical status.

Between the tors, we met just one resident,
who saw us coming from afar

(and likely heard the rustle of raincoats,
the faint discussion of poetry and prose),

whose gaze refused to hold as we passed.
We’ll keep to the road, you keep to the grass.

Dartmoor, UK – 2014 (said to be somewhat enchanted!)

Emerge

mountains

There’s no refute
to a fermented thought,
disguised as it consumes.

Only in time, and a little altitude,
will the truth and clarity
emerge as a mountain of affirmation.

Photo taken 2010 – Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. 

 

Ordinary Me

clifton-corner

There are no waterfalls here.
No colossal mountains,
no rich forests, no valleys,

no fields for buffalo, no home for elk
or elephant, no sea for sharks,
no land for a moose.

But, for now, that’s how I like it.
My tea with a plain biscuit,
my toast just buttered,

to reduce a mind unnecessarily
cluttered with concern and worry.

Yes, I like it ordinary.

The Life of Cranes

cranes

They say at night, they come to life,
and run their jibs through the water,
then stroll the port to stretch their legs
deep in maritime nostalgia,

when once they bowed and hoisted up
heavy casks and crates of cargo.
Timber, coffee, cocoa, and coal,
pineapple, figs, and tobacco.

Although their might and strong metal,
these are the old and kind giraffes,
at dawn returning to their place
for tourists and their photographs.

Post-op

Surgery

Oh, what they’ve done!
Those branches once had their height,
plucked the power lines for warping chords,
tickled the tops of passing double-deckers,
housed the tethered shoes, tied and tossed.
They used to pull the morning blinds,
shelter starlings and sparrows lost.

Post-op, you’ve been left cold,
bare naked bark bitten by chill,
skinny and shamed
against your will,
arms stumped and thin,
topped with tight clenched fists
as if to say
“If we had it our way!”

 

The World Reacts

1029

We all make little changes
and the world reacts to us.

They ran a fence along the creek
because we kept jumping in,

the corner shop brought back those Russian sweets
to cease our everyday hounding,

and last week I gave a strawberry, large and chunky,
near the size of a tennis ball, to a local squirrel.

Today, in the same park, I found
a very, very fat squirrel.

(not pictured!)