Please click photo to enlarge text.
Watching my my twenty-something thousandth sunrise,
Not that I have personally seen them all,
Having ceded some to clouds external and internal
Or simply from being asleep at the switch
From night to day
I rejoice with a mildness appropriate to
Septuagenarians settled by semi-centuries
Of taking lives as they come
Not that I ever have
Two seagulls fly over
Golden sun-rays beneath their wings
Lifting my spirits. I pour tea.
‘The tears roll down [Which way did you expect?]
the ageing actor’s cheeks.’ [Who isn’t ageing?]
My unwanted shadow editor directs
attacks on how I speak and think. He’s staging
a sit-down strike against my muse who’s paging
the gods and me to create something fine.
The chance is nil that I’ll achieve divine
or even adequate prose with my darts
of inspiration, but I’ll keep on trying
before the ageing actor’s out of sorts.
He could turn it on, but then he’d be connected
to headlines he’d find saddening and beyond
his power to affect. He smiles at ‘power’.
If he turns it on, he can expect new email.
That is how he and his friends remain ‘in touch’
across absences encompassing more years
…’Than what?’ he thinks…than his dog has had hot meals.
He does not have a dog; its bowl is empty.
He turns the phone on, photographs its leash.
He feels the weight loss that he still calls hunger.
He wishes to hear English native spoke,
or was that spoken? Harder to remember
alone inside his nearing-empty mind
with him Humpty-Dumpty bumping down the wall
at the bottom of the garden. Night time falls.
He goes inside and lights the guttered candle.
He pours his cup, last of this morning’s tea.
He disinters a banger. It revolts him.
With eyes tight shut it’s nourishing, he assumes,
so he throws bits at the cat he found that’s blind
and they both eat tea in silence. Midnight falls.
It is early somewhere warmer, he is thinking.
Not stinking darkness. Never rising damp.
He takes his diary down and tears out pages
that he holds above the candle, watching smoke
glow into flame then falter and char dark.
The cat meows, which seems to say it all.
He watches ash fall on the antimacassar.
Downtown the church bells ding-toll 4 a.m.
The neighbour, the one working, starts her car
for commuting to the hospice where she reigns
when she isn’t drudging, which is usually always.
The candle gives the ghost up. All is dark.
A silver lining on an ancient bookmark
succumbs to tarnish and his nervous thumb.
He rubs. The cat meows. All is less clear
than they told him back when he was graduating
and when he bought this practice and became
the general practitioner for this town.