Skip to content

Sunday

July 13, 2019

I.
In shade is cold. I face the railway bank.
Each fresh wet blade of lawn is trimmed.
Birdsong, a distant plane and muffled train
augment the silence. Topmost limbs

of the tallest oaks and sycamores are lit.
Coffee drifts from the dew-damp table.
A robin hops and pokes the shadowed soil
beneath the feather-leaf maple.

I name my flowers: foxglove, poppy, rose…
Dew pools like mercury, on watertight
nasturtium leaves. In measureless time, I find
the perfect rhyme, and summer light

begins to peel the coverlet of day,
slips effortlessly down the bank towards me
brightening, and creeps across the grass
to touch my feet; abruptly warms me…

 

II.
… From Sunday’s topical TV,
vox populi intrudes in drifts
of sound, insisting lazily
on infiltrating all the gifts

of silence, time and space I’ve nursed.
Its current casually blows
the floating phrases into verse –
though scarcely quickening their prose.

‘… So why should I work hard to pay
for them to sit around all day?’

‘The vulnerable need our care –
I’m more than proud to pay my share.’

‘They take us for a bunch of fools:
‘if they live here, they follow our rules.’

‘Well I, for one, just don’t subscribe
to the kind of Britain you describe.’

While claiming depth, each voice defines
itself in shallow tones as pro
or con – as though to part from lines
already drawn would be to throw

away the comfort of deceit
and live in panicked fear – and swells
with self-reflection to repeat
ideas which paraphrase themselves…

 

III.
… afraid of synthesis, we stand around
the tree which grew within the forest while
we looked away, and each in different style
describes the contours of its bole and crown,

the spiny fruits in which its seeds are found,
its leaves and inch-long thorns… And thus profile
the traits we see, but make no common trial
of whether it will heal or harm our ground.

Though God, alarmed by Nimrod’s tower, to tame
us gave each tribe a language only He
and they could speak, His trick was not to name
a multiplicity of tongues, but the
illusion that within a single tongue,
by sharing words, we share a lexicon.

 

 

First published by Ink Sweat & Tears, December 2018

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: