From Space to Nothingness

Open that green door into the house

 

A flutter, and my heart with its visceral beat

Blackbirds and fowls running amok

Between the walls like antler velvet

Old oak beams groaning in time to the cobwebs’ string

singing black glossy feathers like comfort and warmth.

 

Come through the battered door, if only I could

I have everything to give, everything shaped

By you, unknown you.

 

The trees are silent in a gnarly golden wood

Floating above a beaten silver water’s edge

melting to sky,

 

And the blue paint chipped pots

Wait on the wooden table

pockmarked with soft red circles in a smoky whitewashed kitchen

I have dreamed of places to fill

And to be

 

It must be nice, it must be nice

To have a landscape loved pooling around

It reminded me of the burgundy shawl flapping

 

Bat like, bad omen, the moon rising steep,

Smoke rising, Vaughan Williams in grey skies, a false note on the river Dee

I see you, Haven.

 

I see myself, too.

If only I could

come home, finally, to pitted wood and

Sweet walnut gravy with caramelised onions

burnt in warm voodoo fires and old ersatz friends

 

The nut filled aroma of pleasant dusk and spat-out violet sparks

And light shining through the foggy day

Into unreal domesticity

It must be nice to have a thing loved,

For I will love you well, even the dead.

 

I have everything now

And all I am is waiting.

 

Flight

There was a shape on the grass

A tree rising over it like the skin line of smoke

Smooth gloss rub and

Nacre black feathers

With vanes like blades of water

lying by the tar soaked edge of a beach.

The eyes were of shifting metal,

Melting and dropping and reforming,

What or if they saw

They saw madness

I put my hand on the crow

Not crow, not alive, not beak, not black

But mine.

Faint webbed skin lying against sleek feather

kneeling curved over small crumpled body

Dotted black on a flat spread line of green,

A strand of feather against the billowing blue sky.

And the grass russet against the head,

Rushed away from the body

It rolled green towards the edges

Ran into stalks of gold swaying warily

And then down, down into the brown earth sinking into purple.

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Bide

They make the roads very straight here.

Men pour cement and purple black gravel and flecks of sticky tar,

And these roads, they run into cities under burgeoning black skies on golden

Rollers and golden lights, shining paved and strong.




By the road, by the silver night, the shore of a river

Lies belly-up; brown slick mud exposed like innards

And beyond that on both sides is the dark.

The trees rise rustling black, gaping against the




Light purple edges of the sky

Enclosing a blackness so deep that I have become a seer.

I see pale gold leaves just beginning to bud in the half light

I see dried blue cornflowers glowing faintly




I see pale faces looking out from between the trees.

The gorge falls to me on the other side

In facets of lavender and sapphire and wisps of smoky rock

I smell the lavender as it falls down and it smells sharp and old.




The tears roll down those mute faces.

Did your blue-eyed girl go away? Or was it father, enemy, or friend?

Does it hurt like glass forcing its way through your veins?

The world would be a better place if we bore each other’s pain.




We don’t. 

Do you cry, my invisible friend?

Do you feel?

Do I make you laugh? Do I make you cry?




Lives flash green and sparkling in the dark, running with childlike glee.

On and on they spin, without questions or answers, ensconced in

just a low domestic roar of conversation and cutlery and glasses clinking-

Where is that red warm hand that we all seek?




The horizon lights up in a white heat

as strokes of lightning cut the pale glittering dust of the sky

The ground rolls and shakes like a green wave

And the roads crack.

 

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The illustration I’ve chosen for this piece is by Peder Balke, a 19th century Norwegian painter. He is vastly underrated. He painted the aurora many times, but this is the one painting that I find absolutely mesmerising. It’s in black and white, taking the colours away from a phenomenon that is famously colourful, and because of that it is so true.  They are like curtains of light forming mirages of worlds in the night sky.

There is no aurora borealis in my poem, but it also features a mirage conjured up by the actor of the poem. I had the inspiration for it while on a bridge at night; the bridge looks out to the city on one side and a huge mass of untamed, hilly woodland on the other. A river flows silently underneath. I usually stand on the side of the woodland. As I looked out into the night, I saw colours. It was very dark and it should have been too dark to see anything, but I saw  colours in the trees. They weren’t bright, you understand, just subtle shifts in greens and blues so slight that it’s entirely possible that I imagined them. But they were there, and it was like a fourth dimension, it felt nearly miraculous. It was wonderful.

But I don’t know.