in the shadows
of the tall trees,
the branches tremble
in mid-February wind,
the leaves hold their breath,
wait out the winter skies and snowfall.
A robin lands in the gloom
in a flash of scarlet,
and something about all this falling
reminds me of him,
his voice, dark eyes,
clothes on the floor,
my body naked.
The Shape of a Soul
On the night of her death
you looked down and watched
as she left like a wisp of smoke
by the hole in her head,
floating up through her half
of the purple nocturne sky.
And as she lies fragile like a bird
soft light filters through her paper skin;
the moon turns red,
a scarlet surge spilling a waterfall.
And what is the shape of a soul?
Is a woman’s the same as a man’s?
All she wanted
was what we all want -
a chance to live, to learn, to love.
But I hear no response, no reply,
just your mocking laughter
as she lies bleeding there in the dark.
Know Which Way the Wind Blows
That summer was one of storms,
electric blue on glass, voices
which turned to silence, black and white.
I stood awake drawn to the deeper thrum,
the darker light – which is not its absence,
but the moonshine off the surface of the sea.
A waking dream perhaps, of sun on leaf,
on purple flower, sun on the backs
of children playing on the sandy shore.
A bee drifts by, hangs in the heavy air
and what I feel here lasts a lifetime,
the sea and sun, the sky full of birdsong.
In the blue along the horizon, a cry
from a seabird carries on the wind,
and with its call and the drone of the bee
still in my ear, I hear its note, its music
somehow blurred, somehow dimmed
and the heart it breaks is mine.
I know there is grey in the sky at dawn
for how otherwise could the mountain stream
run so pure and the gardens of suburbia
remain so green? I look up and see a woman
looking out, lost, a lot like me, a girl
clinging to the space between two breaths
where flesh meets air, air with indigo, rainbows
ending in the sea. Yet how the waters
run so dark now, from the fracking stations
and factories. They blame global warming
for all this water but the clouds are angry;
they throw their fists at mankind’s disregard.
The woman must find comfort where she can and trembles, gazing up at the moon and stars.
In the Hush
In the distance the land and sky collide,
the wind picks up, the night closes in
and I’m lost in the slow tumble down,
the fear of it, the mildew, dust,
the shadows in the deep reaches
of dream sleep, and all fades to black…
I’ve lived my life thinking this
was all there was of it -
shapes in the dark,
reflections from a mirror,
times of illusion, times of loss -
nothing was ever planned.
A voice speaks inside my head:
‘Here is your starting point.
Here it all begins’
and I know I’ve travelled far
having walked part-way before
by the trees, their leaves caught
in a silver moon and a net of starlight.
But now the rain pit-patters
off the windows, the clouds
lower like a lid, and the truth
stays just beyond me out of reach.
I turn over with no other thought
but for your breathing form -
the hush in the air, the birdsong,
the salty taste on your lips.
Again the blossom
foams along the fence
and sparrows in the eaves
against the skim of blue.
And while you sleep,
turning as the Earth turns,
rotating in an eye-blink, a petal falls
like a longed for touch of breath
brushing by your cheek.
The garden seems crowded
now, cluttered with sunlight,
a smudge of purple, wings
and trees, a ripple
on the surface of the pond.
And you know this colour well,
the way the light
falls across the water,
how it leaves you breathless
and asks you what you’re waiting for.