Tag Archives: love poems

Mass Mortality of the Heart Urchin

The sea-potato, Echinocardium Cordatum, inhabits the sea-bed

lives up to twenty years in a permanent burrow,

ambulacra crammed beneath hard-packed sand in pentamerous symmetry.

Mass mortality of the Heart Urchin is twofold and of the seasons.

First, a winter storm disturbs the deep; chokes those burrows with sand,

Smothering the hearts with chaos, pressure too great to bear.

Then the husks, spewed up onto the strand,

Picked over by undiscriminating gulls; Dilber and Stretch on a future Christmas morning.

Or picture a summer, if you prefer your tragedies unusually hot,

The sun’s over-attention spreads a blanket of decaying plankton over that sea-bed,

Deoxygenating the water as it settles down to rest.

Poor, unfortunate hearts, forced up, up in search of breathing space,

Suffocated for want of air,

They and their stellate potato-babies, thrown in their thousands onto a harsh white beach,

So that you may chance upon them

As you gasp in surprise

As the desert-hot sand burns the soles of your feet through cheap holiday shoes

Or as you lie, buried to the neck with your music box and gun,

Praying to a clearblue sky for the deliverance of cloud.

Wild Swimming

 

The week before monsoon hangs heavy.

We wear the air like a woolen blanket in midsummer, smothering our logic.

You, you flawed genius, when the heat takes you to your crazy place,

you are a madman, a jewel thief

secretly adjusting the gas taps of my equilibrium.

That lightning storm in your brain takes your logic

and skews it, making me your enemy.

When the mania takes you, for survival’s sake my mind retreats

to the shade of the creek

my psyche dives down beneath its cooling waters.

I am diving down, down dark deep

where the chaos of your words cannot reach me.

Drifting in bottle-green silence,

limpid light cushioning my journey down.

I am a mermaid

my tail flicking aside your anger

which slides off my scales like oil.

Lungs blooming with pinon-scented air I dive

dipping beneath your harsh words

entering that sedated world where time slows

dream-like I pull through still water

hunting for jewels

while you rage above, your words a vicious deluge of irrational hatred.

Two or three days I lie,

breathing, only when I must, through the hollow reeds of my despair,

body wrinkled with submersion and my mind

cold-water saturated, on ice

until the storm passes, and the wildfire is done.

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A shared love of The Shipping Forecast

Three months into this alien life

I had a bit of a meltdown.

The total immersion into stateside life

Finally taking its toll.

No Jungle injustices for me but still

I feel the un-belonging

The invisibility of the newly-arrived immigrant

Ironically juxtaposed with

Your wide-eyed stares,

Your gaping mouths and nudging whispers.

Three months into this alien life

My senses speeding like an amphetamine rush

The catch-22 frustrations of

Online bureaucracy

And the face-to-face refusals of acknowledgement

That I do, in fact, exist.

Three months into this alien life

I cry in your arms,

Tears staining your jumper’s familiarity,

The only recognisable landmark for

A stranger in a strange land.

Then you shared with me

Your own experience as an émigré,

Though far and away another time and place.

Holding me tight, you whisper three words:

‘The Shipping Forecast’ You say,

‘The Shipping Forecast’.

How, late at night

You would lie, alone, or with some girl,

And let those familiar tones wash over you,

Comfort you with images of home,

Fitzroy’s guardian angels of the Beaufort Scale,

Forewarning sailors of their times at sea.

Strangely, that rare admission of vulnerability,

Such an insight rare to you,

Fills me with calm

Those three words hypnotise me

Like a scruff-held cat,

And that connection with my abandoned home

Reassures me that all things will be well.

The Cutting Garden

I discovered the garden one summer afternoon

Its high stone walls offered shade in the heat of the day.

Curving arches coaxed me in, along paths lined with violets, chamomile and fern.

Wallflowers, warm and velvet, stroked my legs,

Diverting my senses with colour and faded perfume.

Brazen lilies cat-called from the back row,

Towering over tulips,

Mouths deliciously parted in scandalised mock-horror.

Shafts of climbing sweet peas, tangled in withywind,

Reached out to grab my wrists as I tripped and almost fell,

The cobbled path less even than it seemed.

I sank to my knees then, assaulted

By a soft, ripe bed of shameless peonies.

Big, brazen blooms of open-faced beauty.

How I craved them, rubbing my face in their scent,

Tugging their petals and pulling

Generous handfuls to my lips, my mouth,

Breathing in their musk like a lover drowning.

I reached for the knife in my pocket, and hacked at their stems,

greedily scything, frenzied with lust for their passing beauty.

Gathering their heads in my pollen-stained arms

I ran back down that path,

Laughing at my floral indiscretion,

My torrid love affair with bloom.

Two Dozen Roses in a Rainstorm

The pregnant afternoon brings a sudden drop in temperature,

Pendulous clouds cross the hill above the creek;

A storm is coming.

Arizona’s season of changes, challenging my willpower,

Facing me down if I waver.

Maple leaves, burnt orange, and blood red,

Shiver in the face of the warm Pacific storm.

Throwing open the doors, I stand and listen to the thunder,

Fork lightning tracing the sky like a scar.

It has been a year since, desolate, unconfident, night-waking,

I watched, near heartbroken as you flirted,

Unselfconscious, with my heart.

The storm and my memory challenge me,

Like a song sung without love.

This year, I greet you like an old friend,

Let the fresh rain plash on my naked feet,

Rejoicing in the storm.

I hug you tight, feeling your frailty

Beneath your tale of two dozen pink roses,

And wish you well,

Now I am secure in this place.

No storm will wash me away.

The ten months-dry earth now is riddled with racing channels,

Slaking the sand’s thirst.

Sure-footed and calm I watch,

For I know the lie of the land.

Water in the landscape is home territory for me,

And the storm plays out like an old familiar tune.

The Rivers of Oak Creek Canyon

We took the West Fork trail

To Mayhew’s Lodge and

The Call of the Canyon.

‘There are seven more rivers to cross

Before we reach the trailhead’ said my love.

‘How do you know these things?’ I ask, impressed at his orientation.

‘I have passed this way before’ he replies.

At the third crossing I slip,

Chill ice-water drenching my shoes

When I put a foot wrong.

At the fourth I am mindful

Treading carefully to avoid the river’s wrath.

I wonder, briefly, at the women

Who crossed this way before.

The Pioneers, and wives of the famous

Who played here in its 1930s heyday.

How do I measure up to them?

And to the recently-departed girls,

The ones who didn’t make the grade.

When he asks ‘Shall we cross one more river?

Shall we go another mile?

Or have you had enough?’

How do I know if I’ve passed the test?

Either of my endurance or appreciation

Of this day’s passing beauty?

It is cooler by the river banks,

Where water meets the air.

Red rocks rising, Sedona’s gift.

Bugger the Vortex – this is the magic, right here.

Twisted oaks and hundred-year apple trees,

A legacy from the days of the lodge,

When movie stars, presidents and dream-makers

Played in the Canyon.

Walt, Jimmy, Hoover and the girls.

Have I crossed enough rivers? Or did I fall short?

Another pebble tossed in the stream

A stepping-stone for

The next girl on the trail.

The river says ‘Be calm. The time will come.

You have not yet learned my geography,

To negotiate your way through the Canyon

Like a new Pioneer.’

The Girl Who Dreamed The Drowning

Alone in wanton daydreams sits
A maid so fair and clever,
Alone she walks, alone she dreams,
Her visions fading never.
Too young to live, too old to die,
There’s no discrimination,
For all’s foretold, in heartless truth,
Borne with determination.
This poisoned gift, this precious curse,
Is not a gentle guest,
But eats away her fractured heart
And tears her tender breast.

Beneath a canopy of leaves
Her lover sits a-writing,
The day grows warm, impending storm,
The water so inviting.
She sees the lake, she feels the heat,
The water so inviting,
She sees her lover’s letters home
But cannot read the writing.

A sudden breeze disturbs a nest,
The sky all darkened flutter,
The writer pauses, pen in hand,
To hear the cries they utter.
The young man lays his papers down,
To cool his burning skin,
The writer is a swimmer now,
The vision growing thin.
A wayward bird, blown from the West,
Hops boldly to the water,
And hoarsely cries his warning wise
‘Beware the gypsy’s daughter!’
And at the water’s edge, the swimmer
Gazes skyward, frowning.
‘Beware’ the darkling Raven calls,
‘The girl who dreamed the drowning.’