river

We settled our agreement,
to release the ties of energy that had bound us in the crowd
and looked around our littoral for purpose;

We were castaways – at home along the riverside, watching for the tide to rise
and ease a passage through the shallow channels of our lives –
who’d reached a low landscape, north-lit by clear light,
a spare light, with beauty in its bleakness,
swept by squalls which brought a thin corrosive rain in from the sea…

So we filtered grains of meaning from the water as we drank
where sediment settled slowly, fouling our drinking water,
thickening against the bank which formerly defined the flow,
its silt erasing every corner ounce by ounce and ton by ton;
rebuilding our eroded land…

While we whiled away our hours considering the exotic:
the intriguing possibilities of amber buried in the flats
that brought to mind and polished memories of memories,
of sunlight trapped in resin, with an insect
or small fragments and some bubbles that had-not-quite-escaped…

Until we found, although the waters rose
and filled inertia’s drowned embrace around us,
that we had made a pilgrimage of sorts, in mud.

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Mirroring

Eyes shut:
eyelids closed against the slanting sun
seen orange-gold, red-amber ground,
beaten thin and worn by passages of time,
scratched by age in faded might-be runes,

sprung from light and penetrating warmth
shadow-flashed by rushing images
on stretched-wide silver overlay –
a bright tarnishable distraction.

Eyes open:
stood still and cold and insignificant
beneath a springing vault,
celestial pale and perfect blue
with hints of its infinity,

lit from behind by first sunlight
reaching out to strike the topmost mast,
steel beyond the barewood tracery,
a mark of beauty in the everyday.

Those eyes that looked in vain
when young and wide,
for the parents’ absent glance
and found bare eyes instead averted;

forged asunder and unready
in savage lack of primal bonds,
consigned a lifelong blank of longing
for what was sought and missed;

now hooded, searching for reflection
every day in someone’s eyes, a trace
to mirror spark and recognise;
no substitute but maybe some replacement?

Ourselves alone, deserted by our guide,
companioned by our siren compass voice,
familiar halting exposed unsure
while seeming confident and strong.