Monthly Archives: September 2010

Embers

Equinoctial winds fill September’s sails:

she creaks, complains, strains

ropes that must be loosed, and slips

inevitably away.

We run along the foreshore desperate to

keep her in sight, but the

horizon demands her and

suddenly she’s gone, just as the

first ember sail of Autumn

pierces the dusk.

Her berth is ready, roofs repaired,

windows fastened: for

fleet following her are the

Black Ships of Winter,

one by one.

Kent, September 1940

Children in a chalk trench watching the sky,

hop-pickers kids, down from London probably,

working their holiday while their homes get flattened, stopped

by men fighting for their lives above their heads.

One sister cuddles another,

a little girl is bemused on her brother’s lap,

held tight; the smallest boy sits

agog, eyes rolling  following the battle.

Opposite him, an older girl could be

the heroine of a wartime romance

and might have become your

sneered-at teacher.

All sit or squat, except one boy

stood but still bent-kneed, his hands

warding off the sun or

stray bullets.

All show on their unsullied faces

fear, worry, awe—except

one angelic boy who looks like he wants to be

part of that deadly, incessant tournament.

Evenings Out

I even out my life in evenings

out in the garden, making the most

of Summer, watching the

colour drain from things into

pools of black which

trickle slowly together to

drown the world in darkness,

like rock-pools on a beach into which

we stare at crabs and

starfish while the sea

cuts us off, and Autumn

swallows Summer.

Siamese Smile

My current cat likes rough love now and then,

leaping onto the newel-post to bat at me as I pass,

begging me to take his gage and duel

over and under the banister, like cavaliers:

other times he offers his belly,

lures me with submission, his paws

cutely bent but alive with claws that

flash and scratch and draw blood.

Always there is the thrum of purr that says both

“I didn’t mean it!” and “That was fun!”

Just like you when you arch your back and

take me deep, your buttocks

smacking my belly, demanding

more and harder,  and the sudden

agile grace with which you throw

my twice-your-weight and pounce,

growling, clawing, engulfing:

the hum in your blocked throat,

the flash of dark eyes in wild hair,

your mouth alive with teeth and your

Siamese smile.

Too Nice

Under the windmill you had me

and rejected me in that

devastating way young girls have.

We’d talked of books and music;

laughed, teased and touched; found

so much to love together

except love—because

love was something you couldn’t afford

since men paid good money to take you out

and all you had to repay them with was

your body. So the man walking his dog saw

two teenagers kissing in the birch trees on the

birchen head, and missed the

sad irony of

love besmirched:

by what? That you called yourself a slut?

I wanted you, slut or not, yet all you saw

was an empty purse and a boy who was

too nice.

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