Borrowed Book

The borrowed book lies half unread
Lips sealed and words unsaid
Goodbyes hide in sinner’s shrift
Delayed by a stolen gift.

The birds were everywhere

The birds were not afraid of the guns,
the squabble, the cloud, the gaggle, and cast.
The call of the cuckoo carried on
between each and every deafening blast.

The brown owl ignored the racket of fire
and the kestrel attended her nest unmoved.
The swifts circled the skies still higher
and the stork returned early and proved

as indifferent to the thunder of guns as any bird,
the parliament, the murder, and mutation,
all flocked to stump or wire undisturbed,

a noisy, irreverent congregation.

Otherwhere in Song…

In Spring, I finally hear them. Green tree frogs.
I’ve never seen one nor waded into their bogs,
or the odd swimming pool, or the marshes and creeks
where they croak, incessantly, like cicadas, for weeks,
(only when they’re silent, the sun might hide behind
a cloud, can I really hear the din). I should find
hundreds of them, the whole choir. Now, they’re gone,
the heat’s dried up the little brook. There’s none
in the garden, but still I look and see the sun cleave
a path through the weeping willow. I must leave
everything behind and listen. Barefoot, I tread
with nothing but the ghost of singing in my head.

I cartwheeled over the sea

I cartwheeled over the sea and
saw you waving from a bus at me.
I jumped aboard and yelled come play
with the light over the bays and
the clouds whispering with the planes.
Let’s clamber through the pipes
and balance on the poems in the streets.
Climb the statues and skim the marina
with me. Let’s peek through our fingers
at paintings and play hide and seek
with the tour guide. We’ll paint
with light and waves. Hop off, hold
hands, run and see what we will see.

Please understand

Take a look and please understand
that you will not be allowed to
close the box until you see all
its contents and tell me that
you understand everything you see.
You cannot proceed until you have
looked inside the box. This message
will not disappear until you tell me
that you understand. You cannot pretend
you didn’t see. You cannot pretend
you did not understand. You cannot
not understand so please tell me
that you understand. Okay? I want
to make sure you know. You can learn
more, but you cannot close and walk away.

Look at the painting before you

Look at the painting before you
read the text. See gold. Light.
A blue jug. A still life. Purple
and bronze. Stand back and look.
Don’t be tempted by the text.
Your hands tunneling my sight.
Your breath on my neck. Now say.
Gold, light, a blue jug, a still life.
Now read the title to the side.