Your past, the earthís throat in draughts,
a string of ditches in tow and a rich
quilt of red leaves, voices sewing
flashes of grass with grass, your curly
blond hair like the straw
of the basket carrying you as a one year old
on the front of your motherís bike
when it collided with another on the road
and your mother getting up from the ditch
bruised but happy to see you quiet and unhurt,
and you now recalling other falls,
handlebars catapulted and stuck in the mud,
wheels rolling upside down
but no serious injuries and laughter to the sky
and other tales rolling too, told and re-told
with people in a chain running like hedges,
the busy crowd of the past squeezing you
into the margins of the present,
your mother whispering bees and trees,
her now old body in a sea
of flashing fields, the waves in her voice
against the edge of the moment
as if the present were a beyond
telling you we are still alive
sitting at this table by the door,
the earth outside staring with its pomegranates,
the red leaves a carpet for your
dog dashing off at last
and on the threshold what you want to gather
from eternity, a sunís ray smoking,
bathing moths and dust
in its blade of burnt gold
and other tales you canít unfold
simply because they have no words yet
and are all staring huge
in a blue vacancy, both mild and wild
here just outside, expectant,
like the sky in the eyes of a child.
Late summer silence by the sea,
the grass still retaining
the smell of oozing, salty heat,
but not blazing now in its stilled,
mellow embers, nice to breathe.
And, not far inland, the other smell,
a bustling, slightly bitter vein in the air,
a more serious shade in the roadís breath,
the time of workdays getting into gear.
It was then that a long wave
heightened your silence hissing in the pebbles
and you longed for the bright desert of a sea
where you could last through the winter
forgotten and sharp as the unyielding
spicy spikes on the cliff that kept scratching
the infinite at your ankles.
Early spring, first warm sun, you look at the sea
with a mixed itch of dread and desire,
you know itís still very cold.
You wait, fidget with a shell, a pebble
and scan the lulling glare of the horizon.
Then step in and walk on
slowly, teeth chattering, heart hammering, water
at your ankles, calves, thighs, almost up to your breast,
your arms still raised in the air Ėgo, you tell yourself,
go, each instant is a leap
and no way to know for sure you will resist,
go, itís what the bottomless now of your breath
I want my place to be on the blade
between sun and shadow, on the strand,
the foam the bud of an unrolling fist,
the wave-crests black and silver,
the glare from the horizon
the warm palm of a hand piercing.
Even if I faded in a glimmer of air
without leaving the least scent around
I couldnít believe I would cease to be
and balance my heart on this edge
that slides on, gusts like glances
of a fierce countenance always just appeased.
Itís hard at the start
To tune in to the windís moods
Bending at the right angles,
Getting the gusts as piano keys
On the sail, loosening
The airís knots as they come.
And sensing the sharper saltís dots
When the storm brews.
But even in that dark
When you really enter
The succeeding of the waves
And feel you are sticking
To the ripplesí ways
Happiness simply happens.
Back on shore you feel settled
With the burnt gold of the trees,
The bare branchesí cleared veins
In the deep of the winter
And your waves behind
Continuing, in a rich sky.
SUNRISE WITH ANTS
Splashed orange stripes, glad dregs glowing,
A smile quietly exploding.
On the speckled, blinking frost. On razed stalks,
On clods of ploughed soil upside down.
Things seem a bit surprised sliding along,
The tree fingers, the field cheekbones,
A crowd of dots, just lit.
Thatís the canvas and on the train
The other crowd, busy whispers echoing
The outside shapes, shuffling to get ready
And recatch the thought-beams gone astray.
Ants back to their crumbs, at the start,
Under the pressure of an unframed