Moat

photo of weeping willows

photo of weeping willows

My castle has a moat
bordered by weeping willows
and filled with tears.
Great blue herons pattern the sky
with dinosaur wings.
They land and line the bank,
erect and still as meditating monks
in grey-blue robes, no longer
prehistoric but eternal.
Happiness holds my hand as, slowly,
we walk to raise the drawbridge.

Woodchuck in the woods and other instagrammatic things

Woodchuck in the woods. Also, yes—a groundhog in the ground.

I have a hand-me-down iPhone 4S and an Instagram account linked to Flickr, and so I’ve been amusing myself with poetic one-liners. It started with a particularly antisocial woodchuck, who (unusually for his species) has a den in the middle of the forest.

Woodchuck in the woods. Also, yes—a groundhog in the ground.
Woodchuck in the woods. Also, yes—a groundhog in the ground.

Continue reading “Woodchuck in the woods and other instagrammatic things”

Open Day

photo of a cemetery

The old Dulwich burial ground

photo of a cemetery

This ground heaves, lurchingly
    uneven through its mulch of leaves,

tips us towards the tilting graves,
    the shade of tall, stooped trees.

The stone sarcophagi are empty – burial
    was below, in now unfathomable depths.

Toppled headstones sink slowly
    in a green lawn where the nameless

are marked by darker green hollows
    that tempt today’s visitors to lie down,

and a girl in a vintage print frock
    carries a golden bowl — her cycle helmet,

its glinting curves reflecting miniature
    monuments, tiny people, old light.

That lost gesture

Morris-ThatLostGesture

Is this the challenge, then,
as older age begins to settle in:
to be fully present to the precious
and fluctuating here and now
while bearing witness to the past
that lives and breathes inside you?
to be cradling always, one in each hand,
two things that cannot co-exist?
as you relish the magic keyboard
that sends your words across the world,
to recall that lost gesture of feeding
a sheet of paper into a typewriter?
to say something about a time
and place that disappeared?


With thanks for both the sentiment and the typewriter image to the wonderful Spanish writer Antonio Muñoz Molina.

Let things lie

photo by Jean Morris of a bust with two faces, male and female, back to back

My father left school at twelve,
my mother told me.
He had told her he didn’t leave
until he was fourteen,
she told me,
but his sister
had told her it was a lie.
I wonder why she needed
to tell me this.
She could never let things lie.