Ain’t No Poet, I Know It

My plan was always to have a poetry section on this site. I was going to start by uploading the good stuff from back when I wrote a lot of poems, in my early twenties, then start adding new ones.

I put up Grandad, and it read pretty well to me. The plan, it seemed, was working. But I recently got around to reading through my archives. It was grim.

I managed to salvage two poems I consider worth sharing with the world, and then only after the editing equivalent of blitzkrieg. The rest I shall consign to the memory hole. If only they were in a notebook I could burn them.

So, here they are. Enjoy. For now, I fling off my poet’s cap, that some more worthy bard might find it.

Bitter Herbs (Catholic Mass, 26.08.2007)

My eye, a pale unsheathed testicle,

Drips its tiny vision into my skull.

 

Seeding the redblack soil with light,

Growing a tree, roots wrending my jaw,

A trunk of cracked spirals.

 

Ancient ritual slips into my mind.

Death has thrust us here like frightened dogs

Cowering beneath master’s roof.

 

Death, who should throw us at mountains,

Launch our dreams along a green bough

To spatter like paint,

Instead crowds us here

 

To sing weakly and eat sickly

Sweet fruit, when we should have flesh of lambs

Fried in bitter herbs.

Trinity

I

Down by the river and we’re bathing the hymn book

Scoop up this child from the reeds and the snails

 

Spits out the water and the moss and the fish hooks

Sing silence, silence. Death raises the sails.

 

Eve laughs and shakes, whispers

‘Kneel before the tree son’

 

I do it, but I don’t understand.

II

Storm, storm, storm, storm

Born, born

In thunder. Lightning,

Curtains,

The trundle wheel time

Turns the new child’s fresh dream

To the old man’s nightmare

 

Sleeping, blinking,

 

Urinating in his bed.

The cold breeze from the window

Turning his photographs to ice.

Cracked mirror:

 

The time he spent

In a Villa in Spain

Where, like hot wind, many women

Slipped through his door from the rain

 

With hair like thunder and

Eyes like ships

 

Turning all his new phonographs

To flame with their hips

And laughing in their bellies

Like a storm

By a train

 

At the jokes

Sparked like lightning

From his quick young man’s wits.

 

A warm breeze to melt

The coldest women into lovers

Smiling now from photographs

Shocked with icicles on the mantle

 

In the crisp dawn

Where an old man dies

tucked beneath his covers.

III

Down from the mountain and we’re burning the hymn book

Cleansed of all mercy for that merciless love

 

Eve dancing, laughing, scooping fish out from the water

Eating reeds and snails – giving lessons to her daughter.

4 thoughts on “Ain’t No Poet, I Know It

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