I know the last synes that will drift through my mind
Like a kind and sighing breeze or a last ripple
That remains from a sunken skimming-stone
Cast with hope but gone with only a memory visible.
I see a shade on the dimpled wave
As it glitters to the shore and rocks the sedimental clay
To hide thin fins seeking shelter in the last light of day.
I hear the heart-beat plash of secrets dashed
As fish, or vole, or that flat, cooled stone
Curved beneath my memories of youth.
I feel that taut line as it slackens, loosens,
And anticipation lessons while I peer through the glooming
At the feather-float as it ceases to dance
And lies defeated, lost to chance.
I will look to the lowering sun and trees
For final dreams and will take that breeze
I remember more as a gentle kiss than as a butterfly
That caught me in its long embrace, for a lifetime,
That skims in dappled memories and lies
Discarded by my own unknowing hand, adrift.
I Wait and Watch
The air was damp, gnats were beginning to rise,
The sun was dying and the moon was pale
Like a corpse, when it turned towards the house.
I saw a lady dressed in white
With a cloak held round her shoulders tight.
Her hair was hid by a curving bonnet
And toes by shadows of grass.
I stood quite still when I saw her,
Kept quite still and watched.
Her hands held the cloak edged in fur
And her feet touched the moistened earth.
She walked to the wall, by the climbing rose,
Seeking a glimpse of the love she had,
For the man who held her heart.
Anxiety oppressed her pretty face
As she glanced from right to left.
Then worry changed to a happy glow
As towards her love she raced.
Her face grew tight, it creased with fear
While I watched her lips voice “No!”
My body was cold and my fingers numb
As she melted into night.
She comes here now, each day at dusk,
With her grey-trimmed cloak and scent of musk
But I cannot rush to her arms again
For I fear the touch and rush of pain
As my fingers reach to her throat.
For ever I wait and watch, quite still,
To see her love of me.
For ever I think of my jealous act,
“I killed for love of thee”.
1982? (after reading big chunk of Tennyson’s ‘Maud’)
You can see the purple whales out there,
Those long hump-back ridges
With tops of foam
That are scallops of green and mauve.
The sea rolls up,
Wave on wave
Broaching the walls of angular ships,
Threatening to wash away
The flimsy hulks that dot on the wide,
Slopes of waves, rolling and writhing;
Lip-tossed like a golden lake of corn
Edged by tufted hats of distant trees.
Birds are massing,
Rising to the cause of the flock
As the call goes up that it’s time to go.
Their shadows are sown over the earth,
Casting a gloom in the air
At the rise of life
Leaving a ship that heads for a stormy sea.
The wings curl in the sky,
Wheeling and turning,
Listening for the cry of the owl
At the night that creeps and bogs the sea.
And the whales sleep in the eye.
The foam of trees is black against the sky
But the corn whispers its love-song to the day.
Pub. Breakthrough (66)