Archive for August, 2010

HERE

Garden, Hoole © SCES 2006



For more than half our lives, we have lived

in this enigmatic, anachronistic

Victorian villa – built to look like

a Georgian farmhouse – with ashlar blocks

at three corners, the fourth unfinished.

A Valentine’s Day removal, we ate

a takeaway in the kitchen with friends.

The wife is a widow now. Our daughter

has grown, gone and visits: her childhood

still blesses the rooms sun touches through the day’s

compass. We have watched, at the long sash window

on the half landing, the sky and the garden

change through the slow seasons –  sparrows in flight,

a leaf falling. Love lasts.

 

 

 

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REPRISE

Window, KwaZulu-Natal © SCES 2006



This is a declaration of love

on August the 6th, our anniversary.

Here is your essence: the pathos of ink

pristine on domesday parchment makes you cry –

“Ah, bless them!” you say – not only the sad,

the halt but the deluded and the unmasked.

Wisely, you leave me few pretensions.

On Hiroshima Day, I celebrate

our forty four years with ephemera:

images of figures in landscapes;

walking an ancient copse full of wild

garlic and forget-me-nots, heaven’s colours –

and saying, “I love you”.

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SEASONAL GREETINGS

Door, Marrakech © SCES 2009



GUBBIO, WINTER 1992


Where the tourist buses turned, the Werhmacht

had murdered partisans – La Piazza

di Martiri Quaranti.  The cold from the hill –

old, old rock – rose from the cathedral’s floor

into our very soles. Outside, February seemed mild,

seasoned with wood smoke. We bought a hand thrown,

hand painted jar with an ill fitting lid.


Since then: earthquakes, marriages…



GUILDFORD, SPRING 1998


Beneath the new Dillons in Guildford,

a mediaeval chamber, disclosed

during the refurbishment,

had been preserved.

Some archaeologists claimed

it was built as a synagogue:

others denied it.

Dillons’ MD was a Jew

the local paper informed us.


The peoples of the book misread each other.



THE CAPTAIN TILLY MEMORIAL PARK, QUEENS, SUMMER 2001


The Goose Pond was green with insecticide:

the West Nile mosquito threatened.

Named for the scion of a local family –

mutilated by Filipino freedom fighters

a century before – the Park was playground

for the replacements of the ‘teeming masses’:

Hispanics, Afro-Caribbeans, Asians.


From Memorial Hill, you could see the Twin Towers.



HOOLE, AUTUMN 2009


Two aging lovers, best friends in all the world,

orphaned late in life, walked circuits of the park

for their hearts; smiled at mums pushing buggies, scowled

at druggies near the gate; talked of ghosts and hope –

and jokes: ‘What’s this fly doing?’ ‘Waving, waving!’


Old lovers count their blessings, side by side.

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VIRTUTIS FORTUNA COMES

Stepping Stones, Kettlewell © SCES 2007


Lasting longer than the Thirty Years War,

than half our biblical shelf life, this marriage

has grown like coral – drops of the slain

Medusa’s blood – become, like Corallium

Nobile, a charm against fits, poison,

sorcery, whirlwind, lightning, fire, shipwreck!


From Norway’s fjords to the Cape Verde isles,

the Niger’s delta to the Orinoco’s,

reefs build, decline: the slow massing of

defunct algae, discarded oyster shells, lost

sailors’ bones; the unmarked ebb and flow

of topless towers, clayey tenements.


So, let’s celebrate chance, charity, courage –

Fortune’s inexorable comrades.

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INTIMATIONS

Embrasure, Spinalonga © SCES 2003



This house is sentient, light with rapture,

replete with canny, familiar ghosts.


This house has been indifferent

to vicissitudes of human fortune:

train wreck and famine, siege and tsunami.


The grounds have diminished. From the residue,

you have made an L-shaped paradise:

rhododendron, camellia, nasturtium,

eucalyptus – a global gazetteer.


On some summer nights, the pomaded air

heavy still with heat, there is a moment,

ecstatic, brief, when we will live forever.

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