I walk across the ocean towards Honfleur
on ice that was not here a week ago.
How have we irked the deities to incur
such weather extremes? First jungle heat, now snow.
My chance of seeing Dover again is so low
that I won’t know personally if England is still there
like it used to be. I’d hare off somewhere
secure in the knowledge that I could come back
to the green and pleasant land. Starving seabirds stare
at the frozen surface and the sun turns black.
She tries to count to seventeen by multiples of Pi:
03.14, 06.28, 09.42, 12.56, 15.70, 18.84.
When she overshoots she starts all over again
till night retreats. The lightening of the sky
illuminates her insomniac chagrin.
The next night, after enjoying a nap of almost an hour,
her synapses snap to attention, flee the land of Nod.
She makes again obeisance to the god
she calls Morpheus and, mortifying maths,
she redefines Pi as a function of
seventeen. This lets her summing shove
its multiples into a tidy nest
that add up evenly and bring her rest …
… until she notes she’s doing couplets missing lines
and sleep slips away. Again! Ah, sleep divine … …
From the distance from Earth where it feels safe, the harvest moon
illuminates the orchard where we lie
under separate blankets near the dying fire.
White ashes float and fall in the small breeze.
We are still. We hear the knitting-needle click
of claws upon the flat rocks by the creek.
We hope they’re of racoons and not a bear.
‘It’s not all that dark,’ says my muse, ‘if you open your eyes.’
She’s right. On this rainy predawn Friday morning
we stand on wet grass watching grey mists rise.
I ask her, ‘Are these daemons in disguise?’
‘If you like,’ she says. ‘You can master your perspective.
You can learn your waking nightmares are elective.’
Your thoughts aren’t you. They’re just your thoughts because
you think them. They merely an effect of.’
I say, ‘Sun, rise up!’ And gloriously it does.
The Lords of This Part of Space, the LoTPoS, decided it was past high time to intervene on Earth before its humans ruined it.
‘Irrevocably,’ said the Clerk of Fate.
‘Forever,’ added the Recorder of Quantum.
‘Right,’ said the Keeper of Debits. ‘I have a plan.’
The other Lords listened. Nothing else had worked and something very different and quick was needed.
‘We will arrange,’ the KoD continued, ‘for proper clothing. It will change the way humans see their leaders. Change their views of who they follow and the world will become a better place. Maybe even survive.’
‘Subtle,’ said the CoF.
‘Details?’ enquired the RoQ.
The KoD waved and holograms of all Earth’s human leaders appeared. ‘By “arrange” I mean of course “make happen”. Humans recognise their firemen and their judges by the costumes those persons wear. They associate their leaders with a certain way of dressing. Their leaders dress like rich, powerful, well-groomed, well-coiffed models of efficiency and success. We are going to change that.’
The RoQ was getting antsy. ‘How?’
‘The RoQ means what will we get them to wear instead,’ said the CoF.
‘Like this,’ said the KoD. The holograms of all the current world leaders blurred. When they came back into focus their suits, hats, ties and jewels had all been replaced.
‘I like it!’ said the CoF.
‘Might work,’ agreed the RoF.
‘It’s the only way leaders, and candidates for leadership jobs, will be able to dress,’ said the KoD.
The assembled LoTPoS looked at the holograms. All the leaders stood barefooted and bareheaded. They wore identical grey short-sleeved sweatshirts and identical grey drawstring shorts.
The assembled LoTPoS laughed, and said, ‘Let it be done.’
The murderer uses evil to kill people.
What’s that look like, that thing ‘evil’ – how’s it work?
Is it an idea, or a death ray? Is it a curse?
Oh, I see. You don’t mean evil is a thing
(I wonder whether you mean anything)
but you’ll be damned before you let on that you know
that what the murderer killed with was a gun.
’There are squirrels…’ I began. The muse said, ‘Stop with the squirrels.’
I erased what I had written. I said, ‘Now what?’
No answer. The muse whistled. Aeons passed
in review. Real squirrels outside ran up a real tree.
The muse reclined, declining a tray of verbs.
‘Don’t go fancy,’ the muse said. ‘I wasn’t.’ Muse said, ‘Were.’
‘Live in the moment,’ the muse said. ‘Forget fear.
You make yourself sick worrying what might happen.’
‘Don’t,’ I answered. ‘Often,’ said the muse.
‘Write down exactly what it is you feel.’
‘I don’t feel,’ I said. The muse looked at me: ‘Won’t.’
The window on the forest side of the room
blew open, inward. Papers flew and fell.
‘There goes my work’ I said. The muse said, ‘Swell.’