While swallows bring the evening to this air
and draw the curtains clouding late-day sun,
one blackbird serenades you in your chair.
He celebrates the beauty I have sung
in wintry walks along the cold North Sea.
He sings to you this summer eve in France
and I sit quietly by. I’m half in shade
and all in love, as when I saw you dance
into my sight and heart. I quite agree
he adds cachet as we sit vis-à-vis:
a vesper for provincial promenade.
I woke up early this morning. Don’t ask why.
I always do these days that we must duel.
This time I have the buckler. You have the sword.
I say, the way one does, goodbye to life,
and we engage. Good gods! The blade is cold.
A random act of meanness was crossing swords
with an angel of good intentions. Guess who lost.
I am having trouble deciding. They’d had words.
and things had escalated when one tossed
the other’s mother’s name in. Reason blurred.
Swords flashed. I saw the loser’s name embossed
by blade point on his forehead. I strained trying
to read. I failed because the light was dying.
I was sitting pretty. An angel descended and cursed me.
‘Foul!’ I shouted. ‘Angels must not curse.’
‘In another game,’ said the umpire. ‘Curse sustained.’
I grovelled. When that did not work I smirked.
‘Foul!’ chorused a heavenly host. ‘Wipe off that smile.’
‘Sustained,’ the umpire ruled. I dived in the sea
but, being cursed, I could no longer swim.
We hide our eyes at breakfast. We hunker at the table.
We avoid contact, focus on the trees
and pray that we, the dreamers, are awake.
The sun seems real, but not more than last night’s.
The Last Night Sun rose privately and red
in what we want to believe were private dreams,
although thirty suns for sixty sleeping eyes
are more unlikely than we want to think.
We walk along the edge of cosmic meaning.
‘Which edge?’ you ask, as if an answer mattered.
The edifice you erected keeps on leaning
over. Others of its ilk have splattered.
You hear their last survivor’s plaintive keening.
Which edge? … Which edge? — I read the questions scattered
like petals of this season’s last live rose.
I give you my best answer: ‘I suppose’.
We splash the glass with dihydrogen monoxide.
We had wondered were it wetter would it ring
more crystal like, less jelly glass. We’d tried
a tuning fork, a rind of pork, another thing,
but nothing sounded perfect. We both sighed
at the sneaky ways that imperfections bring
base sounds to chimes my muse’s muse had taught her
to play on crystal kissed with sparkling water.