Day of Reckoning

Day of Reckoning

Forenoon, it had been raining during the night
the wizened winter landscape was now green
and amongst olive trees long legged sheep grazed;
their pastor and, on occasions, executioner, sat on
a boulder casting dreams into the future; man and
beast, rustic peace, pity I hadn’t a camera.

On my way to the village to buy the papers, a sheep
had been run over by a truck, with its stomach burst
open and its content glinting in the sun, it was still
alive. Ah, you dumb animal abandoned by everyone  
and it looked at me without any hope of deliverance,
so I reversed my car and ran over its head.
As the skull was crushed its eyes popped out, landed
on the middle of the road that now had eyes to see
with, the shook of this made it shudder long rents in
the asphalt wench black tears trickled. Quickly 
I threw the eyes into the thicket which was instantly
transformed into a field of tinkling blue bells.
From nowhere a road gang of small, denim clad men
with big hats appeared, they where badly paid lived
on road kills. Expertly strew soft sand on blood, filled
cracks with healing asphalt, and off they drove with
their dinner. Empty road it had no knowledge of what
had just occurred, it was up to me to remember.  



The Eraser

As I came to a low stonewall
on my daily walk
I saw before me a landscape painting,
Eighteen sheep and twelve lambs I counted;
as I thought who the painter might be,
there was a sudden blur in the air,
and when the picture cleared there
was a Jenny and its foal;

five wooly backs had disappeared;
and yes the painting looked better,
but I didn’t linger, I wouldn’t like the artist to
think I was a part of his picture    




My neighbour doesn’t till the land anymore he has sold
it to developers, thought he had got rid of his animals,
I was shocked and dismayed when he led a mule out of
the stable where it had stood, in the dark, for two years

Standing there in the courtyard it was clear that it had
lost interest in life, the winter sun that shone into its
eyes met no reflection, blind and dumb it could hardly
stand on unshorn hooves.

There was a long silence no one looked at the beast till
the truck came to take it away, up the plank it walked
offered no resistance, a will so utterly broken that it
could never be repaired

I looked at my neighbour in the hope of seeing regrets
or shame in his face, there were none, and it struck me
that if humanity has no compassion for all life what
change have we got to find deliverance?    




The third mate went ashore an early afternoon,
with the sole purpose to go to the bar and steal
the cook’s girlfriend; the cook had to work till
eight, and when he finally came to the bar his
girlfriend had gone with the mate to a hotel.

How they mocked him next day, but the cook
smiled showing even, wolfish teeth, not his
natural ones mind, but nevertheless very white.
It should have worried the crew, it’s no good to
tease a man who can spit into their soup. 


The Gorge

In the deep gorge, near the river that died five years
ago and is a pale scar running from inland mountains
and down to the coast, unheard words of lovers come
here to die; “I love you,”” Come back to me” “I can’t live
without you” whisper in the breeze for no ones ears but
the intrepid that comes here to conquer his own fear of
love. It is easy to get lost here trees are unfriendly, bark
have thorns and branches snap when you try to climb up
to see where you are, and wild beasts follow wait for you
to succumb, fall asleep so they can come eat your brain
and leave you confused and rescuers will say: “Poor man
he’s got Alzheimer.” The stillness hears fearful screams,
the unheard’s last effort before sinking into silence 


I nearly met a poet once

No I can’t swim, there are no swimming pools
where I live and the coast is so far away.  
I’m watching a program about a Portuguese
poet, she came from a rich family, had homes
dotted about the landscape, she loved the sea and
wrote many poems about the oceans  

I used to work on the seas, on ships, as a cook,
I write about the seas too, but from a different
perspective and they, my poems are naturally
less romantic; about seeking beauty where love
is a commodity, seeing pain in eyes of those who
must wear a smile while being degraded.

She wrote about Greece her language and Gods,
I wrote about Athens, whore houses, booze and
eternal shame, but I do know of the odd moment
when eyes met in a bar understanding each others
quest for truth and beauty and knew I would win
through, one day.     



The chocolate river is dry and the German
tourists have gone home and last years cherries
hang unpicked as do almond nuts that are also
full of worms, and who says grass isn’t sweet?
The sun is a yellow ring on a blue pale sky,
disillusioned as a 30 watt bulb in a room
with faded wallpaper, at a run down hotel which
calls itself Bellevue; last stop before sleeping  
rough. Nothing is more abject than an out of
season tourist town, sleepless shopkeeper and
bored waiters, even the flowers in the park are
grey; and except for a couple of retired seagulls,
birds have flown to Africa and will not return
before spring rain falls.


The “Eyes” Have It

There are many summers, but we only get one
to remember, the rest ends up in a blur.
This particular one had lasted long and the girl
I loved lived across the river, a nice little stream
that serenely floated down to meet its doom
the salt sea. Late September still summer though,
but the window in her cottage was shut, knocked
on her door, a neighbour came, said she had gone
to abroad with her old boyfriend who was Danish.
Unseemly haste! I smiled, shrugged my shoulders,
women! And I suffered the longest night.

Daybreak brought a chill in the air, dark clouds
congregated and it rained. Many years later I was
served in a bar in Copenhagen by an old woman
carrying too much make up on her warn face, but
those eyes, a memory stirred. Her hand shook when
pouring beer into my glass, yes I know all those
long nights, she didn’t look at me and swiftly left
through the back door and a younger woman took
her place. I left soon after, outside I looked up and
saw the curtain on the first floor move; those eyes
I had seen them before, but refused to remember.           



I know so little
And would like to learn much more
But not the whole thing
How tedious it would be  

A world void of mystery



Winter Night

When I opened the cabin’s door, night and frost
entered, the darkness, night brought, was disposed
of by switching on a light, the cold, frost brought,
lingered a bit, didn’t leave before the wood stove 
got red hot and threatened to explode

Ice roses on windows sparkled moon was full and
on the lake trolls and hulders (female trolls) skated
watched over by tall, stern spruces, dressed in white
on this rare occasion, they didn’t know a road was
being built and they were next years Yule trees.

A distant drone, a planeload of old men going south
seeking warm sun, sand, tepid sea, and young flesh,
they didn’t know that just under them virginal beauty
waited. Who struck that match on arctic star? A fiery
rent, snow fell off evergreens; then stillness reigned      



The Future Is a Dream
I was driving on a broken, potholed road, in a devastated
landscape, no houses only a bit of wall here and there,
earlier I had driven through a fading memory of a village
and when I looked back it was gone.

The road stopped by a vast plain that ended where two big
sand dunes protected it from the sea, they where building
a new city here; and there were shacks for the workers who
could not afford to live in the houses they constructed.

I didn’t see the men I didn’t see anyone at all, stillness was
empty as it had no memory of a past, it disturbed me that all
was present-time and that nothing had take place before;
I was overcome by a great fear and warm tears blinded me.   

A woman came, soft bosomed, she held me close, stroked
my hair and whispered quiet words till my terror ceased;  
when I could see again blank sheets hung from the sky
waiting for someone to write the story of how it began.

In the living room, coloured lights, around a plastic tree had
been blinking all night, its gaudiness, was so very human,
but I switched on all lights, touched walls, they were made
of solid stones; and my fingers caressed every unevenness.

Sore ankles, on decks of iron I had walked endlessly across
the seas; I lied down on the floor head resting on the edge
of the sofa looking up I could see dawn shine a new desire
through the skylight; yes it was good to be home fromthe sea