Nothing is coming

snow sits deep 
on the road out of collingwood
proud in the sun

but here there is only wind:
trees and lovers bowing
to the inevitable

the sound of the climate laughing
as mere humans fold
in half under the weight

of opinion 
and the Sahara edges southwards
leaving the party early

do not look up
nothing is coming
and will be here soon

Aldeburgh

The sound of pianos on the beach,
the fall of rain on the roof
like stones under the ancient waves

Your fingers move like lightning
then slowly, touching me gently:
my skin tingles

One of us is learning the tunes
and how to play them,
taking them all the way
inside

Maybe both of us

So much water on the marsh,
in the river and across the roads:
we lie on strange beds
in the summerhouse

The wine rises to the surface,
the body and the bread:
can it be true?

The wild sea is not far away, but
we head inland on old ridge paths,
listening for the tune again,
that eastern poetry,
that distant voice,
that old, elusive love

Nothing is coming

snow sits deep 
on the road out of collingwood
proud in the sun

but here there is only wind:
trees and lovers bowing
to the inevitable

the sound of the climate laughing
as mere humans fold
in half under the weight

of opinion 
and the Sahara edges southwards
leaving the party early

do not look up
nothing is coming
and will be here soon

Inside a dream

You came into my dream uninvited
unaware
flinging your bedroom window open
leaning out and laughing

this side of the tank traps
the invaded playground
the man with the gun
the man we never saw

We walked together
down the invisible path
to the distant woods
close to the railway track

I knew it was a dream
but you woke something in me
something deep down 

I wanted to open my eyes
but it was impossible:
inside a dream
I knew it was a dream

When I came round
hours later
your bedroom window was empty

It was too late
and too early

Half pipe

Death-wish figures on skis
lurch from side to side
blown like winter leaves
Twentyonesixty, seventwenty, sixthirty

Accidental figures fall 
through the sky
plunge to the edge
gather speed
sixthirty, seventhirty, midnight

Back full double full full
numbers reach for the stars
leap upwards …
Teneighty, fiveforty, fifteenfifty
… fail to come down

Étretat

High on the pale white cliffs of Étretat
beyond the heavenly bridge
you walk the narrow paths, strung
like ropes from rock to rock:
you perch on the pinnacles, unaware 
of the emptiness beneath you,
reaching for the sky

I take pictures: secretly
I want to be out there, 
on the edge,
mystical, threadbare
in the game

but I cannot help looking down
and out: I see the abyss
I feel the urge to fly
like an angel

and my angelic ambition
prevents me reaching
the thin, high ground where you stand:
keeps me from touching God

You scramble across the gap:
a hawk hovers
pinned to sacred air
above the abyss
sun drifting along his easy wings

written 15 years ago after a visit to the magnificent cliffs of Étretat in France

Various positions

Now in this distant winter landscape
those various positions
come back to me
smooth like the trees
and the angels
music in the sky:
break-dancing and singing
hallelujah
one way or another

how could you have rejected him
the great and the good
seeing nothing
mist rising
until the laughter became too loud
and you became haunted 
by ghosts of words spoken too soon
coming back to you
back to you
back to you
over and over

Dunston Common

Branches of long-suffering oak
spiral down, nudging 
damp winter earth
like streamers frozen in the twilight
of some forgotten party,

and the year edges 
towards its end
shedding a few last-minute misty tears, not noticing
that no-one is interested.

Even you, who return as always – 
cries of distress at this repeated change in your routine –
same difference, 
accusations into the empty air
of this familiar place where 

half a century ago
my first car stuck in the mud, wheels spinning,
and I wondered how I would get my girlfriend home 
clean, without embarrassment.

Now I watch my brother stand,
wheels spinning,
brain in another time
homing like a bird to this private spot.

By the old church
a thin, sharp shoot of holly 
is growing from a sterile stump.

written almost exactly ten years ago

Cemetery

I bought some flowers for dead people.
I saw them dancing in the winter breeze:
the sunlight shone through cold and naked trees
and showed them shining
in strange, exciting colours.
They moved gracefully, in ways
I had not seen before.
They seemed perfect, and I
could not stop smiling.
The flowers were nice too.

Up and away

I am like a watchman 
waiting for the morning:
I stand on the hills, and in the darkness
the night is empty
formless and cold

I look for the light of all mankind
and look again
knowing that the people who walk here
are children of the light

waiting for those first sky signs
of promised dawn

It is my privilege
to lift their eyes upwards
so that they can see more clearly

Life is light,
drawing people
up and away from shadowy valleys
where they do not belong