I too would have liked
to write about fog but
the Big Boys intervened,
told me to shut up:
they’d been there,
done the poems,
had the T-shirts printed.
So here I sit
a pale sun melt
what could’ve been
my poem – all fourteen
glorious fucking lines of it.
Oh but don’t touch him. This you may do:
let the auricle trap the ghostly filaments
of his dreams; let malleus, incus and stapes
deliver them into the cochlea’s sanctum.
Don’t speak to him. But this you may do:
Let the intangible particles of his slumber
be warmed by keen turbinates, let them
drop anchor in the olfactory epithelium.
Stay! Do not move. Though this you may do:
wave by invisible sine wave, let the heave
of his night hunt pierce the cornea, traverse
the bulbus oculi, and enter the retina.
Do not presume further. This must suffice –
there are lines which shall not be crossed,
lands which uninitiated feet may not tread.
Time itself will stop for an old dog asleep.
a cotton wool tide laps
drops to reveal
the green valley, grey
then billows up
to smother window, view
and the house.
Amid the creak of
the rafters, the chimney’s
Now you see it –
now you don’t.
A hubbub of sparrows
in the bald black boughs of a beech tree
swap stories of spring.
boot prints and paw marks
notes on invisible staves
mute song of winter
Tide of birdsong washing over the pillow,
morning light zebrastriping the wall.
I surface to bubbles of drowsy excitement
drifting from under the bed.
The old dog is dreamhunting again.
Fug of ancient canine wafts up
like a comfortable, friendly embrace.
The world is at peace.
A company of rooks have commandeered
my tree tops, cawing their raucous orders
to the foul-mouthed platoon of carrion crows
billeted lower down.
Their croaking sorties darken my window –
but shush: from his high lookout a blackbird
raises his voice, rehearsing spring rebellion.
I clear my throat.