Monday, 21 December 2015

When Joe went out late

to shut away the poultry
after weeks of rain
he knew where the pony was
by the sound of its hooves
sucking in the mud.

Foxes still kill in downpours.
Maybe they keep closer
to the bones of the hedge
or loiter below hollies,
but they're always watching.
Hungry as December dark.

The hens were in and roosting,
dry enough in their houses.
He let the hatches drop
and turned towards the paddock.

Four days before Christmas
and he'd have preferred ice
to this unceasing rain.
The track would be flooded
down by the bridge,
the damp wall in the hall
coughing salt from flaking plaster.

He found the pony and together
the two squelched back to the stable.

If there were still stars
he hadn't seen them for many nights.
He'd laid off his shepherd
and couldn't think of
a wise man in those parts.

Should the Angel of the Lord come down
Glad tidings! Glad tidings!
he'd tell the twinkle to fuck right off.
And take the bloody weather with it.

First published at Your One Phone Call 6/6/2016

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Dusts

These dust motes, so gently pirouetting,
can, from certain angles in slanted light,
reform to embody the departed.

Libraries are full of such airborne ghosts
moving quietly between sleeping shelves,
attending to their liminal business.

Open a forgotten book, a fat tome
on Greek history say, and out they come,
liberated to scintillate in beams

sloping from tall windows; to dance in gusts
from the actions of automatic doors.
Closing the pages renders them homeless,

left to circle in whispering limbo
until one day like summoned saints, they sail
up, up, up, to peace on high picture rails.

First published in The Jawline Review 17/3/16