After Reading The Bell Jar
curl up like black paper,
burning like a moth;
a glove turned inside out,
trapped too under a house,
a circle hidden and musty;
fragile under steps,
let us escape the carrying,
legions of white coats;
corridors as long as life.
rest among the gentians
like an exhausted lover,
the road has thrown
you out of track and youth,
a line of rescue wakes
the rooks in the cold trees
there is a nest not far away
waiting to fall, a pause
before the first call, a damp leaf.
Whirls of wicker and calico
of turf and salt,
of cats and fish.
The eyes of those
surprised by sudden depths
are bitter and open.
They drink sea under the glass
of a cracked tide,
in dark tunnels of waves.
The water children flail under a sea moon.
The sea drags across the dark silt :
hear the bell, hear the bells
Anywhere. Evening rain.
Snakes cross the road,
that is no longer an obvious place,
it cracks like old toffee.
Lost souls in nightgowns and slippers
foam behind wire.
A dark tide bids,
then waits for a gallery of small heads,
blue eyes devoid of doubt.
A world of small signs
A Mowed, After
Anklecut but running;
cornchildren at break,
dust and more dust.
Flight the cutting
of a lost sanctuary,
legless with shock
at life turned upside.
Stubble the blunt cut,
the wait of the expectant
loam, under the farrow.
Crouching as many curves
in a bronze spring
a road full of curves
Tugging your kness
into the apples of your chest
hair seaweed over rocks
Hidden the face
between a bone tunnel
a circle perfect in itself
For a few seconds in Columbo; scratching like a cat
at the door of recognition, selling hotdogs as a star
drifts by. Motel curtains that smell of coffee;
a bed full of bottles, dust between his fingers. Cut.
A noble fall! - we never knew him; a minor hero
stamped on celluloid; lost on the cutting-room floor.
You are climbing out of the seat of my body;
rising as a small loaf, a scrap of wonder.
Stamped in wax with my ugly mug and running.
Surprised you are broken glass, a bit of face
or a toast-dropper of a fear. You are weighed with
a ton of my own past, packaged and disguised, the
torn tape of a reel-to-reel, endless and twisted.
No shit Sherlock, children are from their parents;
But they don`t know that. Forgive me.
At My Own Funeral
Bells. Cold air. Damp earth.
Carrying my own coffin as if
divided and watching myself from outside.
Throw masks into an empty grave.
I have been caught leaving a shop
with a bag of stolen apples.
Surrounded by dropped faces and lost tones.
The air cold. Earth damp. Bells.
What Night Not Is
Not a cabin banged together with dark wood and nails of stars;
not the ballast in cold ship full of shouts.
Trees are not sewage; ice is not to be loved, not
the darkness nor the cold blanket thrown over dead lovers
nor the black cloth over the head of a to-be-shot.
Not the curve of light over an airport, not a motorway lifting nor
the dry cancer of a widow. Not a parcel of sons nor a gift of frost.
Not many things: not even the helpless space between
two reduced lightings.
a river full of dead pigs
a burning moon
a child squatting in mud
was that it then, just that ?
no trace of birth
a cold tuber that might
seek helplessly your hands
wet with drops from a rusty tap
fingernails dark and underlined
that follow the trace of a fleeing star
an escape into the big black
over the wall, over the wall.
Let me seek asylum in the sea
silent depths of ice water
for I have swallowed sorrow.
Touch the clematis in a seaside garden
a patched wall sun-warmed
and crystal with salt.
Shudder at the shouts of the breakers
small stones laughing as they
are pulled over sand.
Orestes : even the noble are no more than disguised.
The weight inside a dive; muscles work against the wind.
Motionless ignore the reduced; a quilt of cornfields,
bleached boxes of barns; holes full of gravel,
a mess of houses and lanes. So when
the heat rises and the earth scatters:
heed the hunter`s eyes, the blue irises,
the terrible beauty of the last seconds, sinking.
The Slaughter of Trees
searching for the perfect word on virginal paper
leads to the cut, to oaken tears, to a sorrow of yews;
then the unbalance; rowdy tracks of leaves and
branches: the pushing down against green bursts,
the mud and ways, as if we could find more truth
than the idle wind on a summer`s night, more than
just a hush, more than just a whisper, more than this
the night is the black down of a yearling
this sky a taunt of trailed stars,
let me spin in a frosty lane,
too fast to count
and throw the dark to ground
the wind turns my apple tree
into a victim, a lover banging
on a closed door of gnarled wood ;
a dance makes this ringing evening
singular, the leaves agree to fall
and turn in the dull faith of air,
they tell us about birth and departure,
about leaving together, stories of
ending as the sun arcs and protests
The Sea at Night
a move of broken glass
black as polished leather,
burnt wood, the big shifter
that trembles steel under us,
the horizon hides, above
a curtain made of holes
with stars around as the
lost language of wind,
howls of salt, tide of night
Seagulls Over Antrim