Ring Dove

Every day, every time I see you, you’ve changed, getting
older, turning into a Ring Dove. There’s one in my garden
now, a complete Ring Dove, round, fat and feathered.

Every time I see you, I notice the changes. Once you were a
shapely young girl, but now, I see your figure going; a ring
around your neck appearing; soon you will turn grey, you’re
legs will shrivel and grow claws; your bustle will grow big
enough to support wings; then you will find yourself in the
garden, scratching around for food.

I See My Mother

I see my mother at the end of the telephone line. Smaller than me, looking up at me with her carefully gazing eyes.
Round, skittish, swathed in old clothes from a second-hand shop; and she’s almost unloved, starved of affection and
it hurts me so much to know that her life has been like this. I come from a family who never hug or kiss, who never
touch one another. A family who will hang on to dear life until the last drop of rain or tea; until life-giving spirit has withered and faded like water on desert rocks waiting, what for? Just for someone to touch them, affectionately hug them, and now she’s old and still it seems impossible to do so as if she were a prisoner, a captive who didn’t belong to me at all; a bird in a cage, watched by a bad-tempered cat that keeps rivals away. That I am seen as a rival for her affection is ironic, seeing that she’s hardly been given any affection, and doesn’t seem to know or care anymore, having accepted that life in our family is like that. It’s ironic too, how starved of affection, her children scattered like the children of Babel and developed different languages of their own. Now all she wishes for is a card, a telephone call or a letter, for these things have replaced the hug, the kiss or the touch of a hand

Shirley Bassey takes the place of you

Shirley Bassey takes the place of you
I wonder if you know
When you left this vacuum here
When I was feeling low
I heard a Shirley Bassey song
Her singing took your place
Love and a Shirley Bassy song
Here filled this empty space

Shirley Bassey takes the place of you
And what could never be filled
The love I always had for you
You never really killed
Your love I can never forget
and I well remember your face
Now it’s a Shirley Bassy song
That seems to take your place

You’re as young as you were in those days
In mind you’ll always be
As young as you were in those days
And full of vitality
And those days are living in me still
Kept alive and free
Yes that love is still alive inside
With Shirley Bassey and me

I live in a time vacuum
Like I have nowhere to belong
I often forgot what wounded me
And pretend that nothing is wrong
I haven’t seen you since my youth
Has it really been that long?
If you want to know what took the place of you
It was a Shirley Bassey song

11 Jan

We sat at garden tables

We sat at garden tables
On the small pier
Anchored to a lake
With our paper cups of tea

You took monkey nuts
From the shopping bag on my lap
Gulls, coots, ducks and pigeons
Waddled around us

A swan came sailing
Nuzzling the water
The music of its white neck
A treble clef against a stave of trees

The delicate almond blossom
In the hypnotic light
In the hazy grey-blue sky
Daubed the winter trees with whites and pinks

The seagulls flocked
Circling the water fountain
You smiled
A pigeon crept beneath our seats

The sun was a liquid orange
Crushed between clouds
As we went back home
Through the eye of the town’s closeness

FEB 20th

Park bench, sandwiches

Park bench, sandwiches
You began feeding a pigeon
A sound like the Holy Spirit descended
A flock of browns, creams and greys
They tussle, gulp down crusts
I am for a poor footless stumpy one
Thin and bedraggled
It totters along on its stumps
Overtaken by the scrum
It dives under their legs
Sad skeletal neck thrust out
It flops beneath their bodies
I persist and it gets fed
I grab at a plump one
That pigeon look of amusement
I sense you beside me
Lost in thought
I feel runny nosed, boyish, unromantic
The child in me suspended in formaldehyde
We struggle out of ourselves
To find romance
Like blind chicks from an egg

My Shop-Soiled Romantic Soul

My shop soiled romantic soul:
A limbless doll in a window,
Climbs through the tangled marsh woods
Of my Staffordshire childhood
As if it were a relationship
In which I have to be alone.
My thoughts the tangled branches;
My feelings the wet muggy clumps of grass;
The sun beats down on my back
As I sit on a dry hill mound
Withdrawn into the coalmine of my mind.

My shop soiled romantic soul:
The flesh pierced by social stinging nettles
The weeping willows hanging from space
In a far away undiscovered sky,
The burnt black nature of my heart
Flaking at the edges,
The candle flame of romance
The midges swarming in the twilight
Room of my dormant mind.

Freedom is not inside me, I realise that now,
Fear and distress have stirred me on a low heat for years,
I pick up the costume of shop soiled romance
But the background doesn’t suit the audition
And I knew nothing about the play.

The Hollow Oak

Into the hollow oak
On Richmond park
You ran laughing
At the dry wood
Pressing your body inside
Hiding in its hollow
That stands in the ground
Like a half-buried dugout
Gutted by lightning
Heartwood long vanished.
Again, it is tested by fire
As the sparks of your eyes
Ignite invisible flames
I am drawn inside

Flattened against the old grey wood
Like new living heartwood
Warm, full of breath and speech
You filled the old hollow tree
With a beating heart
You made it seem like laughter
Was rising up through its stems
Then- I became that hollow tree
I felt your love inside of me
Pressed with laughter against my ribs
My hollowness, my empty crib