Ashes to Ashes

In the perjury of
last year’s
unfulfilled Lenten sacrifices
the priest’s freehand cross
becomes the smudge
of a pointed finger
this year


Storms 2014

Rivers are weaving threads

across the sandbag wefted land

and patchwork fields

drown with new cloth.

Hedges poke up their heads –

markers for where roads

have dived below

inland seas.

Sheep, full bellied with twins,

huddle in island barns

as freshwater tides

graze their pasture.

Houses first-footed by water

as wavelets rap the doors

with unrelenting gusto.

Tears flow from kitchen,

parlour and refuge while

slicks of sewage sweep

the streets.

Unyielding winds

gather loose tiles

as ammunition

and bomb and blast

in a hubbub of ceaseless attack.

Daily the forecast fails

to bring the besieged relief.

This is the invasion.

how to approach a year

dreared with rainfall’s constant companionship
and comrade to the squall of wind.

There’s always tomorrow.

bone clinging cold gathers at your feet
climbing your legs with ice picks.

There’s always tomorrow.

by the warm glowing promise
of the weather forecaster
smiling in his studio
and sheltered from my opinion.

There’s always tomorrow,
and we are yet to have snow.

A candle in Advent

The candle is alight,
its solitary flame
licking cavernous darkness.

The candle is a light,
drawing the eyes
like moths to its magnet brightness.

The candle is waving,
its glowing hand
a beckoning beacon
to contemplation.

The candle’s light,
a star-drawn punctuation,
a drawn sword
in the evening shadows.

The candle flame
a bright-light baton
rising like incense
and hands at prayer.

The tree is naked

The tree is naked
except for its branches
arms reaching out
embracing light.
The tree is naked
except for its needles
fingering the air
absorbing light.
The tree is naked,
but, like Adam early in the garden
it doesn’t understand its nakedness.

The tree is dressed;
bright light dangling
in tinselled streams
and gaudy adornment.
We lay trophies at its feet
addressed elsewhere –
‘for Gran’, ‘for Auntie Joan’,
tribute offerings for another year
teetering on its close.

The tree is sacrificed
in the drying of the room
where love is shared
with the trapping,
unwrapping, clapping,
of glee,
or discarded with dismay,
when love has faded
and revealing,
unwrapping, unfeeling,
fails to caress
tender sensibilities.

The tree is abandoned,
its lights and tinsels
packaged and boxed
for unwrapping another year,
and we are naked
for another season.

Random hide and seek

Searching the sea
for tidal memories,
flotsam moments
flow in and out
in random hide and seek.

High beached
on stormy recollections
stranded debris,
rounded by the weathering of time
and lack of context,
bruises but does not pierce
or, as tar, taints its sticky presence
over semi-precious present.

Full Blue Circle

A summer snowing smokestack;
the confession of dust
coverlet to rooftops,
a slumberdown sky
and the reign of ash.

A minimalist palette,
pallid, submissive
enslaved by wind direction
and pulverised crustacean
kissing the air.

The grind and chank cradles
trail like giant ducklings
nose to tailing across the road,
bestowing a dusty benefit on fearful children
and their introduction
to geology,
and the arguments of chalk.