Chinese Girl Is Walking Quickly

The Chinese girl is walking quickly
One hand in a pocket
One arm swinging

Under a crystal cold blue sky
She knows where she is going
She’s walking quickly

But in her heart
Something is happening
In her childlike eyes there’s sadness

Her legs are dressed in slacks
She wears a quilted jacket
She looks neat and clean

She takes the left fork around the block
And I carry on my way
But at the end of the road I see her again

Walking towards The Lion
One arm swinging
One hand in her pocket

In Carbon Blue

I have the carbon copy of love
Blue words from blue paper
Impressed into a receipt book
Like little blue birds of lettering

Oh, sadness tries to bring forth tears
Blue tears from a blue heart
Impressed into a receipt book
Like little blue birds of water drops

But they do not appear
The receipt book is left blank
The sorrows hover in my heart
Like a suspended rain, going nowhere

Oh, I have so many receipts processed by dreams
Dreams that use the blue carbon paper
To remind me of what I’ve paid to you
In tears

Her Valiant Heart

A picture of my mother as a young girl
Sitting on a crate in a dishevelled back garden
A scarf turbaned round her head in the manner of the working class forties
In an old photograph
Always smiling for the camera
Most often with a gaggle of girlfriends
Perhaps teasing the men and trying to get attention
No guile, no pretensions no obvious ambition to take on the world
No showing off, just being herself, I think

Now I think of her last years
In a dysfunctional family
With an unloving husband
Her thick cracked hands
Her toothless face crinkled with age and worry
Her valiant heart deprived of affection
Her ears used to verbal abuse

How much of it was her fault
Her stubbornness; how she made a virtue of ignorance
But that laughter was always there
That delights in teasing menfolk
Even after the worst of marital experiences
A smile would gradually come back to her

But there was no rest from work for her
Bitterly she took the role of a drudge
I don’t think she was ever complimented for her work
Or given enough money to make a success of it
The home was kept clean and tidy
But the lack of love was telling
Except in her later years
She managed to gather some nice ornaments
Geese, swans, and collections of plastic figures out of boxes of teabags
And the prettiest curtains in the street
Of little blue, yellow and orange flowers

But words can’t say how hard her life had been
But more than her hard work
The injustice done to her through lack of affection
That she endured out of belief in her marriage vows
And one of the last memories I have of her
Is of a person who gave up hoping for affection
Who stood at the doorway as I went inside
And of the lost little kiss she was capable of giving
No longer existing in her heart for me
A few months later she was in hospital for the last time

Umbrellas That Smoke in the Soup

Umbrellas that smoke in the soup
of a clock face pulled from the bone by a mirror.

Like the throat of a vase used for bunches of screwdrivers
that lift up an electric circuit to find a delta of rust
about to complete a cycle of life.

Like a cathode ray tube fitted into a skull
left in an armchair where a fuse is shattered
by the femur of a beanbag girl with a bright cranium.

Like feathers fallen from a gold slide rule jammed
into the mouth of a transformer

I was dressed in blue asbestos
by the girl who trips over a spanner
as she moves into the corner of a room

Daydream Believer

After the great tribulation
The survivors
Will have peace

Peace like blocks of sunlight
To grow fat on

The air will be free
Of flying scorpions
People will leave their doors
Open
They will love one another
As second nature

Animals too
Will learn about love
They will not grow
From kittens
Into wild cats
They will stay
As kittens
And herds will be safe
To roam

The judgement
Will seem
Like a thing
Far off in time
And a paradise earth
Will be
Like a daydream

You’re guilty

You’re guilty
Of making me look
Guilty

It’s easy to do
A cat
Can do the same
To a mouse

And it’s convenient
To say that they prey
Is a criminal
And should be eaten

I saw you outside
Sharing a joke
Are you a comedian too?
Is the making
Of guilty prey
A game
To make you

more popular
With others

Guilty, guilty
You laugh
As your claws
Close in

I’ve never seen such a mess

I’ve never seen such a mess –
The blades of grass
Standing out
Through barbed wire
An empty bottle
Crashing
In deaths drizzle

Who owns the wild grass?
Who looks after it?

Little eyes in the blades of grass
Look around them
The wind is on fire
Little mouths in the blades of grass
Breathe in
The smoke of politics

I’ve never seen so much confusion –
Something has started to rip them
Out of the ground
Clumps of grass are pulled out
Like hair

The fields
Of silent panic
The wind is
Whittling them away
The solstice of the season
Keels over
Into a boneyard

The little blades of grass
Are stuck there
Wondering into what hurricane
Of disaster
The earth is turning

The spiders are leaving
The chamber
Followed by the mice

The cat ignores them and follows

The big man’s shadow
Is nailed to the wall
His face is making the wild movements of madness

Outside the hot-dog stand is on fire
The fluffy white clouds
Pass overhead
With a shocked façade

The blades of grass are alone
In winters cold warning air
The sun has a frosty blue face
And wears a fur coat

I’ve never seen so much chaos
As when the human mind coalesces into one
Fearful scream

Unfathomable Time without a Shore

Unfathomable time without a shore
Unconquerable by human kind
That dream to tame you, to open your door
To stretch the limits of their mind

Try as we do, we do not succeed
To hem in your tremendous force
And so to you, we are a weed
Trampled by your wild and rampant horse

But few can see the handsome horseman
Who sits on your back in the golden light
Older then time, of limitless lifespan
You exist only for his glorious flight

1999

We Cannot Pass Beyond This Point

We cannot pass beyond this point
Our emotions are buried in stone
We stand together on this plinth
Nakedly alone

Somewhere in the garden of a queen
Somewhere by a fountain in a park
Our type of beauty rarely seen
By visitors in the dark

We could stand here forever side-by-side
Never moving towards one another
Sculptures of two lovers with lover denied
Trapped in stone the moment we fell in love

The big storm came and a tree fell down
We are knocked over and crushed by glorious wood alive
Our pieces are packed up in a crate
And lie forgotten in a palace archive

The sculptor more experienced one day may return
And find his work forgotten in a grave
And refashion us from white marble
And proceed to remodel us and save

If that day comes may we be made flesh and blood
May we be free to embrace as we walk through the park
May we be freed from stone to fall in love
And sit by this fountain in the dark

1999

As Stars Glide Through Time

As stars glide through time
Leaving golden children in the stardust
As suns sing choruses of love
In their blue skies of eternity

Life will weave across its steeping stones
A silver-cobwebbed mist
Where a girl dances in a trance
Improving upon the nightingales song

Midway between the stepping-stones of freedom
And a stepping stone of love
A warship passes on its way to the front
It casts a cold dark shadow over her sweet scented skin

And a trail of blood flows from its stern
Under the water emerge the faces of all those to die
In the war torn way across the world
Hers is the only song they’ll hear

Afterward there is the living anger of the skies
That dies down around her figure kneeling in the spring meadows
And then a peacock-coloured sunrise heralds a new day
Across the hardened frost laden empty lands