Under the journeys, under the ashes,
before the brochure and the visitors,
the kitchen is fine.
Spacious, light,
marble worktops with expensive appliances,
the black electric cords, obedient to power,
the convenience, the sheer substance
comforts me.
This is a good place for living,
and not so far from the waterfall.

I have no story to tell,
I always come back to the hands and the eyes,
the touch and the glance,
the failing touch, the next glance,
and so on.
You don’t love me as I deserve to be loved,
I know that’s not uncommon.
I have no conclusion to reach.
I have no blame to apportion.

The nursery, with the mobile
of birds, I think they are gulls.
You used to make them sing.
We used to make them spin.
One of her first words was “birds”.
A lovely, calming powder blue
for the walls, white skirting boards,
picture rail and ceiling:
bare waxed timber for the floor,
a rug with cream and crimson,
our own small portion of Persia.

The lovely turns to lonely,
alder trees come.
One ends up with tautology:
I am what I am,
it is what it is.
We are what we are.
We were what we were.
The well with the donkey,
the mountains where they cling
so darkly to their fables.
Recidivism. Altarpieces. Shame.

Old, long-barrelled muskets mounted
above the fire:
in a museum, fly-spotted cards bearing information,
waxwork figures, anvils, axles, cables, kegs.
We carry our subjects with us:
the view down the valley to the sea,
the wars and plagues that sweep like tides,
the famous castles, my hands
stroking through your loins,
parting the lips to heather and startled deer,
rivers to form new borders.

That white farmhouse we could see from the train,
yes, so white against the green in spring,
the white-painted bricks,
the building a kind of island,
the lush vegetation, surrounding, so green, as if waiting.
The murmur of the days,
our ways of spendthrift and ignorance.
The skull, a hive: thoughts, bees.
That makes honey… What?
Or am I being too elaborate?
I have a story to tell,
but I won’t tell it.
In the heart, sometimes, acid;
sometimes loam, or salt, or skin.
The master bedroom, too, is fine.

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