Not an Idle Moment

Not an Idle Moment

A fly sits on top of the computer screen,
cleaning its face when not watching me,
incredibly it takes lift flies and lands on
the tip of my nose, close up it has
enormous eyes, so big I can see myself.  
I hit it, but miss; now I have nosebleed,
it trickles down to my lips, tastes salty,
drips on my green shirt I’m so proud of.
I go to the bathroom, I’m a boxer, who
has won the match in round six, so what’s
a nosebleed? Take the shirt off soak it in
cold water, put a clean one on, it needs to
be ironed, so who cares, it’s a dank day when
even windows cry and the old roof leeks?
The dipterous sits on top of the screen
eyeing me contemptuously, pretend I’ve
forgotten something get up, in the kitchen
cupboard I find insecticide, storm in, spray
my room, the fly curls up and dies. Blank
screen I have forgotten what I was going
to write about.


The Hunter

The vale, a mini grand canyon, most of
the time, cloaked in the opaque fog of
obscurity, was clear today. The floor of
the dale is flat and scattered with large
boulders, crippled bushes, weedy, slimy
plants and an imponderable, stillness that
follows sins of wilful nonappearance.

Was here, with my dog Stella, to look
for and hunt rabbits; by a boulder I saw
a rabbit bigger than a red fox; I shot it
in the head with my .22 calibre rifle;
still convulsing when I came up to it,
bashed it to death with the rifle butt and
saw it was not a gregarious lagomorph, at all.

Hundreds of them, hairy monster rats,
looking at me from every boulder and
hole in the ground. I moved backwards
didn’t dare turn my back, but they came
closer; I panicked and fled; Stella stood  
her ground defending me till I could get
up on the road of cowardice yet again.

I shot into the melee of rats till I had no
bullets left, but I could not save my dog;
fine rain a foul smelling miasma filled
the ravine packed with phobias, odium
and fear of the indefinite; one day I will
be back -- hunt and kill nightmares, clear  
the valley and built a temple to purity.    



The Flowering Shrub

The rhododendron, planted years ago
is now leaning over, weighing down
the shed, it looks healthy and lovely,
knocks on the kitchen window I keep
closed or it will enter and strangle me,
the cooker and the fridge

Crimson as fluid blood, its flowers,
when it rains ruby drops drip as war
wounds on battle ground, and people
come from afar just to take pictures;
yet no birds sit on its branches and
cats keep disappearing;

Killed by the red foxes in the woods?
I have suspicions, cannot voice them
lest people think I’m mad. Bought
a chain-saw, and when no one is looking,
the beautiful but murderous killer
will be aromatic winter wood.    



The Dance of Life

When a child, my freedom
Was restricted by adults
In a world of fear;  

As an adult, my freedom was
Restricted by the need to
Make a living;

Now in age, my freedom
Is restricted by bad health
And a small pension   

Death promises freedom,
But since it lacks
Consciousness, it is illusory 


An Ordinary Painting

A bland painting on our wall, a tied up rowing boat,
a boat house, fjord, salt sea that didn’t look inviting,
and grass that looked artificial, a cold sun and a hazy sky;
two boys in a row boat and a girl with tanned legs
sat on a stone, slum children happy to be on holiday.
The sun looked warmer now and the haze had gone
and the sea was teaming with marine life. Pleased,
I decided to add more things next day, but when the new
day came and I looked at the painting again, it was as
empty as before I began adding life to it.

But wait, the boat had sunk and just below the surface
of the shimmering sea, the boys floated—eyes lifeless
and open—inside the boat house I could just make out
the girl hanging from a beam. The painting exuded
coldness, the sea whitened to ice so intense that it
cracked and the whole picture fell into a deep abyss.
A piece of cardboard, enclosed by a gilded frame;
on its empty surface I painted galloping white horses,
flaring nostrils and flying manes, a standard painting
of the type decorating the walls of homes, and it was
still there next day and the days thereafter. 


The Great World War

It was long ago, when I saw this painting, on
the wall in a house that had belonged to a
man just dead, long trenches—in a flat
landscape—killed by shells, leafless trees, 
denuded and defiled by an orgy of bullets.

The soldiers in the trenches wore long blue  
coats, the painting, too, had a bluish shine
telling us of a world where the sun refused
to come and be a part of this horror show.
No heroes here, just soldiers waiting to die. 

I don’t know if the painting was a work of
art, I had wanted to take it home, but a child
in an adults’ world has no rights, the picture         
was filthy and had a crude frame, they said;
it was thrown on the skip and forgotten. 

The Lost President

Poor George, the president, deserted by friends and
foe, roaming the corridor of his big white
house like a ghost of yesterday. Cry, he does, and
says to his wife: “Why, have they forsaken me?”
she cradles him in her arms and says: “There, there
George don’t mind them, you kept the braying
enemy away for eight years, and in time a street
will bear your name, you can be sure of that.”        
Reassured, George gets on his bike and cycles from
eight till nine, but since the morning news doesn’t
mention his name and there is talk of a Moslem
called Obama, he frets again, till a flunky tells him
he is still the president. 


The Tarn of Life

Many wed couples in the glade, the men
had shaving blades with which they cut
stripes on their women’s backs, not deep,
but enough for blood to trickle down and
make a pattern that spelt love. 

I tried, but my blade was blunt, couldn’t
make her bleed, miserable she left me, as
I was not able to let her suffer for love;
a failure in the ritual of married life and
shamed, I walked away from the dell.

In a forest where trees were grey and had
lost all leaves, I came upon an empty lake,
and saw at the bottom, the bleached, soft
shape of an embryo, it had blue eyes and
looked, unblinkingly, up at me.    

It began raining, and the lake was filled
with pure, clear water, in it I bathed.
When looking up, the trees were green again;
by the shore my unborn daughter sat, she
smiled at me, and I knew I was forgiven.