March Sunday

This garden hedge can stare me down with ease.
It has more eyes, perhaps a million more
from thrush to spider and on down to spore.
They gaze at me relentlessly and seize
the thoughts that I would concentrate on you.
Each takes a bit and laughs at it until
the birds fly off and spring’s first wasps go still.
I’d write an ode but find I’m laughing too.

Winter Walkies

The wind less dark than coal tar still sufficed
by jiggery-pokery to keep us in the dark.

It scrambled clouds and ringed the moon with ice,
eclipsed it with the world. No solar spark

traversed Earth’s molten core to light the ring
of atmospheric ice around the moon.

The walk home in the dark was twice as frightening
as we had dreaded all the afternoon.

You walked ahead and waved to keep your torch
alight and upright so we’d not get lost.

I saw the large dog pad down from the porch.
Your light blew out precisely when you crossed

your arms to shield your throat as I had dreamed
you would, and since you could not then, I screamed.

An Autumn Urban Stroll, Amsterdam

October blows brown leaves down. We are shopping.
We stock up on candles, ask about a chair.
Damp chilly breezes keep the strollers hopping
and no one’s sitting outside anywhere.
The headlines — seaborne plastic, radiation,
people fleeing warring powers everywhere —
are far away but never far enough.
On the next street we dodge past a prancing jester.
His coloured stockings, cap, and rubber ears
seem sensible in contrast to world news.
You’d think somehow a moral must be drawn
but I can’t find one though I’ve shopped since dawn.

September Siesta

I lounge alone on Peter’s patio
that frames the gathering grey clouds storming past
between high-hanging, stock-still clouds of white
and me boxed here against the coming night.
The sun scores silhouettes on banks of white
and writes initials on the crescent moon.
The moon, self-centred from this patio,
backlights high-flying swallows as they flow
and flip, appearing swiftly from stage left
to exit right as cannon fire that soars
up moonwards. Downstage, modern feasting Moors
and Christians re-enact their ancient wars.