Cumuli

I sit in the sand to write of winter travels.
Out west above the waves the threat of rain
accumulates and then, again, unravels.
Lithe bodies whose perfection gives me pain
that someday they will go, a useless cavil,
implant their outlines in my grateful brain.
When winter comes, comes cold, and time to write,
and after those, the dark and endless night.

The night brings bombs that vaporise old timbers
and interrupt our squabbles with a mite
of understanding as the blast dismembers
a neighbour whom we knew but just by sight
and recognise no more among these embers.
A soul as fuel gives but little light.
Through what was roof the moon shines in to bring
my thoughts outside to search the dark for spring.

As racers race, as flyers tend to fly,
a couple couples four feet up the beach
with sandy knees and sheepish smiles that cry
for company, but they are out of reach
and I can’t be bothered. (Lord, forgive my lie.)
I write in blood and watch the paper leach
the words into it till the last sun sets
and coming winter cossets my regrets.

I need a moon, or more, to lift my spirit.
This war goes on forever and the fight
invades my night child’s mind and tries to steer it
to madness, as if safety lay in flight
from Eden now our guns arrive to queer it.
We pave the earth in ash to prove we’re right.
How long can we endure, and at what price?
Last summer’s waves go soft beneath the ice.

Some images I won’t report:
the way
the seagull hangs six feet above Lucinda …
the way a blonde, to enter the café,
takes forever, in the door, to wend a
shawl around almost her hips … ¡Olé! …
the way her sister, coming in to spend a
penny is garbed solely in a tee
shirt no one else notices … Such sights
are lost on those who focus on cold nights.

The darkness where night children I imagine
have hidden half the winter goes to grey.
Grey goes to rose, and breezes bring a smudge in:
reality, another one, gains sway
to order my perceptions as they trudge in
in lockstep till they learn they must obey
only what I want them to, then fly.
I imagine summer’s coming by and by.

Why should we celebrate the present summer,
take pleasure in the joys our bodies bring
themselves and others? Life’s a short-lived bummer,
John Calvin taught our elders, and each spring
ephemeral. It’s autumn that’s the comer.
Let’s hunker down, avoid the urge to sing;
await the fall, ignore sweet summer’s sight
till night falls down and proves the pessimist right.

Reality! A great stockpile of missiles.
We had to use them by their sell-by day.
I hunker as another of them whistles
inside to poach my lungs so I can’t say
“diddlysquat” or “kudzu” or “bulls’ pizzles”
and blood replaces breath. I kneel and pray
My monkey mind consumes another bummer
but my wild side senses all of life is summer.

It dies with us. All of it dies with us.
Wait for, want not, and polish your regrets.
I know I do. I raise a muted fuss
as I deny until my mind forgets
most of the gifts life’s given me. The fall winds muss
my memories: As each new gust begets
confusion I applaud how sand blurs sights
I lower daily towards eternal nights.

I watch Lucinda’s waving growing dimmer,
indulge myself (I try to do that more)
in knowing it’s through her I get a glimmer
of what of all I care about is more
important than mere living. Chances slimmer
than ever to get near what I adore;
than what I used to hope for, but all right,
I turn my face to summer, shut out night.

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