Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Love of Dog

There is a dog place in my heart that feels like love,
not real love such as one feels for one's offspring,
not friendship though, it 's something more.
It's like romantic love without the sex part,
similar in how it seems a mad obsession.
There is a dog place in my heart which seems like summer,
full of warmth and ease and joy and gladness,
that sets the image of a long white nose and two big ears
above so many other things I care for.

There is a dog place in my head and there my thoughts turn.
And in my mind I see the beautiful expression
of two round eyes which seem so full of kindness
and of tenderness and humorous ideas.
And I know that it is really a reflection
a mirror showing what I want to see.
And I know I might sometimes see, also, sadness,
but it's only there because it's a projection,
a belief the dog's in sympathy with me.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


If God is love, He's in the graveyard buried,
out among the leaning stones, moss covered
and underneath the brambles making hedges
over ancient graves which now are wild waste.
But He is not Romantic in His presence,
He dwells too at the edges, by the field,
in new land divided neatly which seems smothered
by small graves of shiny black or speckled granite.
If God is love He dwells among the gaudy flowers,
far from the ancient yews, in open space
and in the shale and brightly coloured  gravel,
alien to the beauty of the place.
For love is not less love when it inhabits
the souls of those unsubtle in their taste.

In Praise of Rustic Brick

October light and sun's slant rays, and pink
and peach streaks in the west; elicit
from the fired clay a warm response
a glowing call, at end of day,
from russet, gold, marl, terracotta.
and if sun sinks into the earth
without a painting of the sky,
because the cloud strains every sinew
to hide the red behind the grey;
then still, at least, sun's heat 's implicit
in the rather duller colour
of the iron oxide, copper;
as if each day, brick might attest
to the existence of the fire
that changed it from the soft and plastic,
baked it hard and made it rigid.
So that we who gaze upon it
feel a happy reassurance
that the burning at the centre
of our life, our whole existence,
does for now, at least, continue.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

What to do About Mrs Houston

Is she the better part of me,
Like valour, the discretion
And if that' s so, how can it be?
What benefit repression?
Though valour isn't Ali' s thing
She just likes having fun;
Mrs H. must always bring
A cloud to hide the sun.
And quench the flames of silliness
With sober, grown up thought
And cool things down with chilliness,
Or, as a last resort,
Switch Ali off, keep her inside,
Imprisoned for weeks on end,
And make her cower down and hide,
And never recommend
Her for parole; its always her decision,
But when at last
She' s free again, then Ali goes doolally
And makes herself a target for general derision.
So in steps Mrs Houston,
Who calms things down and yet,
She's never really beaten Ali:
At least she hasn' t yet.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

'It is Only a Very Shallow Person Who Does Not Judge By Appearances' Oscar Wilde

Your eyes, which are your soul,
Made manifest, unfathomable,
Defying scientific explanation;
Express in pools of blue or brown,
Round, moist with brilliance,
And fragments of reflected light,
Your very essence:  your whole.
To find a gaze impenetrable
Is merely to avoid confrontation,
There is no fleeting thought so quickly flown,
That leaves no evidence
Of its flight,
No trace residual in the coal
Black depths of pupils. For each inimitable,
Unique and transient manifestation
Of thought is known,
Finding its mirror in the onlooker, whose excellence,
Whose skill in guessing right
Your emotion, is illimitable.
And thus your eyes are by definition
The second person singular, a pronoun
Made physical in the face, speaking in silence
The language of consciousness: insight.