along the human highway

Footsteps:
the canvass steps
the ageing steps
the display steps
the forceful steps
the steps with purpose
the lighthouse-seeking steps
the ritual morning steps
the adventurous steps
the tentative steps
the steps for fun / leading who knows where

Stretching out beneath
the horizontal rainbow flags
the frantic red, the calming yellow
the emergency aid cross

Until the tide-line breaks
across the cooling breeze
so its waves come sweeping in,
their shimmering serpent forms
released before the breakers roar

emotional verdict

Pausing in empathy, to facilitate
stepping stones across the street:
a random act of kindness, outlined while it snowed

Contrasting / against frigid slices of pretence
inhaled or eaten raw / reflecting
an icy high professional disdain

Of passion. Disguised in everyday encounters.

Kept warm across embers of humanity
but cooled by us, before our judgment seat
until a fearful anger writhes / and rises up

To spill an empty nest of therapy:
from the pressing churning sensitivity,
for an incorrigible chameleon / never having fun.

Emergency

Occasionally there is a death.

A direct shocking abrupt termination
of that person’s hopeful journey in a jagged tragic crash
of horror, pain and blood and dirt and aftershocks.

Fragments.  Sending eddies in the flow for miles

And an hour or so of people’s lives
claimed by the entirety of one, at random:
all too fully human but diminishing with distance…

Fading…  Until the beat resumes…

the princess, dressed/bare

I sensed its chill: a skin of fishscale and of early light
on lingering sea mist beyond the limestone wall,
a gossamer translucence across her graceful bones

Which once held power at bay – but were cast down
since she had been so brave and dared and lost;
the chosen in dissent, fated to be free
plundered by her enemies, forgotten by her friends

To be remembered later / in a sweet and clumsy way
as people come and go / and stop and stare
in shallow speculation / at the finery and weeds
of a bold abandoned princess / pale daughter of the sea

Whose pretty ghost can count for little now, except for play
by kings or strident citizens or idle revellers,
her corse still dressed before, stripped bare behind…

Their humbled vibrant sacrifice, borne prostrate unto God.

the year falls older

The clear air sharpens.
An early darkness opens: a heedless welcome

As the year falls older on our shabby lives,
on shallow thoughts and deeper breaths and one-time dreams
in strictly limited edition: captive moments cradled
to enjoin a restive wanderer, who’d ask:
What may we have lost?  Which guests will leave today?
Are any strangers come?  Did the system know?

It falls?  Mere stumbles on a root-crossed path
traced and lined by windblown crashed propeller seeds
whirling catkins trailing footloose introductions
beech nuts teasing open among blasé topless acorns
all nestling beside shameless, shell-burst chestnuts –
and starfish maple leaves, their dried traceries in vain…

A future lies gestating on the ground
Its seeds as yet unborn, their yields unknown.

They’re crossed? A choice of none but forward steps
(if we may suffice, while jolted by concussive snaps
to hold uncertainty in mind, without suffering unease)
through a carousel of faded taints: a strange parade
to reach a crooked avenue / north-faced by moss
below those silver birches’ yellowed canopies…

Whose steps? In lock-step locked outside the windows
shuttered for protection, guarded against storms,
the freshly loosened seeds of youth
– it seems forever – pass the briefest glance across
our careless woven dreams / that yielded time to them.
We rest.  Our responsibilities passed on.