It is the black magic of evening
water drizzling over the strand.
The tide is turning, slack.
Servant to the moon, she spills
a last teaspoon of froth
on the glittering, ribby sand
and withdraws into the darkness.
Out in the depths, the sleeper turns.
He is reaching his magic hour
floating nowhere in his sailing boat
He heaves his body over on his
dimpled, dumpy mattress, manning
his craft with little puffs
of warm air.
The log book lies open and unwritten
in the comfort of darkness.
His narrative is unheard.
Story is on pause: the tea things
lie idle and askew on the tray.
The bed and its occupant
became one long ago: weightless
and wonderful they travel in the
ocean of night. Untrammelled
they filter the surrounding water
where strange fragments combine.
Caught by the searching moon, they pick up
her transmitting message of time.
Odd facets from their wanderings
glint back shining.
They send their compliance, and dissolve.
Waves of water and time harness white horses
with their bridles of day. While
all is put in order in preparation for
the morning breakfast tray.
Distant in the ocean mist
a shadow in the bay,
where yesterday a sunbeam kissed,
a darkened cargo lay.
Heavy in an iron sea
where no small wavelet lapped,
a darkened cargo solitary,
in snow cold cloud was wrapped.
Just one lantern hung aloft.
It shone through bitter air.
Far from friendly farm or croft,
it showed its presence there.
Then in the early light of dawn,
as early cobwebs spun
I searched for where the cargo lay;
I’d heard a ship’s bell rung.
But there was nothing
only waves, out in the morning sun.
LE SACRE COEUR
Wilde, Oscar (1854-1900)
Wilde: Irish born and Irish died,
to London’s great museum applied.
His ticket duly granted, he wrote
inside that wondrous room
reading profusely: deeply, wide.
In august company sat he,
with those, who lettered and inspired,
would put the working word to multiply
when leavened by the hungry eye:
as loaves and fishes did,
so long ago,
beneath a Palestinian sky.
Yet in the fashion of denial,
after that fatal libel trial,
his ticket was withdrawn;
his name removed: it was cut up, and torn.
By judge and jury had he not been tried?
His writer’s heart was crucified.
Not for him the Reading Room.
No cares his death would follow soon.
Irish born, and Irish died,
TO A PORTRAIT ON THE WALL
My father, how I love you,
My father, I love you so.
There is a place for passing
Among wild primroses
I cannot tell you, now -
But I will join you there –
In Osmington. I remain
Your Elisabeth Anne.
Mice in the attic
Cats under the bed
Put them together
And all would be said
ANTIDOTE TO DESPONDENCY
What can a man do?
I saw what one man can do
With one hand lift a portaloo
And with equipment called McFaddon
Drop it on the Tarmacadam
Then with the ease of an Aladdin
Open up a portacabin
Go inside and have a look
Then hang the whole thing on a hook
Dangling as if on display
He took the whole damn thing away
Folding his yellow crane up neatly
He had cleared the place completely
Jumped into the driver’s seat
And ate a kitkat for a treat!