Archives for the month of: September, 2012

We fell in love. How to describe this?
At dawn, the stones breathe very softly.
They are less sure of their edges, have made an infinitesimal movement
towards the state of young deer.
The stillness, a kind of accomplishment,
like the surface of a lake on a parked autumn day
(not even a leaf falling).
At the same time, a faint, continual tremor in everything,
ordinary: as if all things were kettles, simmering —
or a heavy train arrives on our platform —
and extraordinary: as one, in purring clouds,
all the birds take wing
fleeing an earthquake region.
A sentence in all the tenses at once —
extravagantly confusing, but at the same time, a salutary rush.
Poise. The temperature just before
ice melts.
Arrest. So quiet, afterwards,
like the seas on the moon.

As for glances: always a to for a fro.
Tiny details startle us,
because we are new, and don’t have the marks,
can’t work out the scale or the radius.
A hare of surprise leaping and dashing
in the roll of a raindrop across a leaf.
A desire for motionlessness,
for a time to absorb: also,
a desire to race.
Yellow-shelled snails setting out on their day of evolution.
The grinding engines of stars in busy tube trains,
the Z heading right back to the A,
wanting it all to start straight over again.
We mustn’t move too quickly or too suddenly:
everything, hanging from threads of grace,
stirs as we stir —
air, a snatch of Venus from a passing car,
both the near and the far are at one, fragilely
connected, and we
are one style of that connection.
Even the simple things are somehow terribly difficult to believe:
that we are are here, that it all holds together:
the table, the pepper pot… Iron… Salt cellar…
Yet, the most outlandish stuff seems really quite plausible…

Sometimes, inside us, the birds with their stretched wings
ache to be lizards, to give back their feathers at the entrance,
to cool their blood and gorge on rocks,
to be closer to rocks themselves, lumps of sinuous batteries,
charging in the sun.
Aware of this, we wake and shake ourselves once more
with lines from Neruda or songs,
slap our faces, leap into freezing pools,
get real: politics, boroughs, laws, justice, cities —
the quick stuff. We must not be
irresponsible. And yet…
We have caused all this fuss in nature,
this unrest.
The darkness of a mirror’s back.
A life, ominous and grandiose,
trickling in the woodlouse, ticking in elms.
A chivvying, a Chinese-whispering, a question.
A purpose? The hint of the shape of a direction?
A maple leaf, landing in a pond,
disturbing autumn, liquid in its ripples of zeroes.
Delicately, the doorways to all things, we open;
doorways, we know now, we can never close.
In the wind, the hinges
squeak and it can seem like
no one is home…


I can’t tell you everything.
The scale of that day seemed huge to me
as if I had shrunk back to the size of a child again
and the gravel was a magnet:
they couldn’t prise me away from the path.
She wore a bright red coat, and bright red stockings as well.
The way she walked, so purposeful and bold,
she could have conquered a city.
All the time, you’re frightened that the world will end,
and then, one day, it does.

By faint signs, he felt that autumn had begun
to infiltrate summer.
A certain lightness in the air,
a rarified quality; a particular stillness.
Spring seemed so far away.
Mildly disorientated, all she could do was look round,
and experience a kick of panic,
like people who have got off at the wrong stop.
Of course, everyone was telling their stories:
the encounter with Cameron, last night’s gig,
dawn seen from the volcano’s peak.
Not the great things, rising like mountains in the distance,
but a collection of all the little things lined up —
that constituted the essence of life
according to Barnaby.

Later, it seemed to her that their kiss
comprised a quiet, succulent Gestalt.
She didn’t sense the grief inside him —
the baggage of the ashes and the years.
When she fell apart, it was as if someone had dropped
a suitcase full of newspaper clippings —
the disparate accounts of sundry events,
bleached and faded, the paper yellowing,
the disaster edged with ads
for memory training and products for use against hair loss.
The cryptic surfeit of ordinary life —
at once dense and ephemeral, heavy and light —
collected in the void formed by his passing
like rainwater in hoofprints.

They are telling the stories, but she is not part of them.
She’s such a little girl!
She runs to and fro, increasingly anxious,
looking for a door that will let her into their stories,
but there is no such door,
and the story-tellers don’t mention her at all, not one of them.

Of course, they don’t notice her, the little girl,
even though she wears a dress of lavender silk
and bling-bling many hours in mirrors turning
and gleaming. They are far too busy with their stories:
and then the crocodiles and but he was very handsome;
I won’t forgive her, never!; Autumn. Rain. The end of hope
and so on.

It reminds me of a game of musical chairs:
everyone else rushing to sit straight down,
but she’s confused, and dashes frantically round
this way and that, while each of the chairs
in a moment is taken.

And I fear for her, I must admit.
The doors to every story are slyly closed
like mice tails slipping away into secret holes.
She is forgotten. The others, they don’t care:
their stories make them unaware,
they are enraptured by the telling;
and some of the stories are terribly beautiful,
after all.

Now comes the silence of the months of snow.
Rats holding their summit in the House of Change:
the key behind the brick, names like Pasha and Yuri,
a sinister tailor making clothes of graves.
Wits, duels, deals. A poverty of incident,
a wealth of details. Now rises the forest:
now inflate the bodies of the flaccid wolves
to take on howls: now congregate
the masses, the fashionistas, the backcloth crowds.
Now signs the genius an entire era.
Opinions pour down like important rain.
Now rise the prophets and the seas.
Now rush the hunters to their prey;
now fade the footprints by the shore.
Now comes the jungle creeping back:
monkeys crawling over the lost jet plane.
Now comes your pleasure; now, your pain.
Now, out stretches the corridor I walk down
with all I remember, and all I forget, and all I know.
Now the snug building grows warmer,
the fire much brighter, the laughter so gay,
the schnapps sweet and torte, the stories so tall,
the outside more distant, their sounds so muffled,
they fade first to echoes, then to no sounds at all.
Now you approach me, and I approach you.
Now we have met, where will we go?
Now, in the silence of the months of snow?