but oh the sunshine has a fearful effect on me - it makes me want to take you into a wood over the hill & undress you & kiss the leaf-shadows moving over your body, & love you till you are quite quite dead.
Cecil Day-Lewis, to Rosamund Lehmann
As the broad palms of the horse chestnut
laid claim to her whiteness, he was
touched by their reverence — summer
candles held high as if to see her better.
Heart-shaped leaves of aspen
Chinese-whispered, hissing of lovers
kissing in the grasses. The impotent ash
could only jangle last year's keys.
Now, as bare trees vein the sky
he is taunted by evergreens which fail
to screen a watery winter sun.
And the leaf between
the pages of the book which he slid
laughing from her hands that day
floats from its chapter, a brittle ghost.
And what once danced is stilled.... more »
TIGER IN WAITING
Then, for all I knew, feng shui
might have gone well with noodles.
Our room faced north. I couldn't
see the door. At night, thick curtains
kept a flickering road at bay. Shut out
The Plough. I was water to your fire.
By day a telegraph pole, close to the house,
shot poison chi across the big sash window.
I moved south — across the landing. Now
on windy nights as I watch the birch tree
toss its glittering fleece, the energy's
in free flow. In the distant hills perhaps
a dragon sleeps, while open blinds invite
auspicious stars to spell a future where
alone's not lonely. A thrush calls from the ash.
It is the single birds who sing the most.... more »
THE RIGHT WORDS
After months in the far north
they return, like snow buntings,
in a blizzard of wings. I did not
think they could thrive in icy climes
but here they are, searching the wrackline
for drifted seed. When they turned pale,
fell between a rock
and a barren place, they lay
deep in a corrie in a nest lined
with sheep's wool, fur
from a mountain hare.
And down from a ptarmigan
its chameleon gift.... more »