mockingbirds

October 26, 2007

A soldier is lost in a library. Between page and eye
birds are forming from coloured honey.

The soldier thinks there are so many answers, but mine must be
the prettiest.
The birds are fountains that swallow themselves.

They are all liars, but they sing well and pretend
they exist and are sane. The soldier juggles with them,

clings to them, entreats them,
wrings them till they spill

ink over continents, thinks
that if they are mad then the world is mad.

The birds shed themselves empty.
The answers are not colours and sweetness, the soldier

is pleading, is pleading, is pleading.

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My Lai Massacre

October 15, 2007

I grew up in a village too;
horses across the road, black and chestnut.
I remember the weight of their galloping bodies
learning me that life could be like hammers on earth,
landslides. My father would tell me

I was the little boy in the old rhyme,
the boy promised the last bag of precious wool.
I was cocooned in it, and I grew.

Now I am trying to thread a nerve
between my life and yours,

but the spark voids to pain. No soldiers
came one morning, with tools

of a craft more ancient refined
than the long records of the dead
through which I am sifting. No soldiers came
to carve their company’s name in my father’s skin
and prise me from the swaddling.

My Lai Massacre

autumn

October 4, 2007

I will learn autumn like a harp,
forage it for soot swelled blackberries
and sweet chestnuts to caramelise;
I will sweep the death colours into sweetness, the reds,
the endless reds that rain past the throats of flowers
who wring their plain grief like widows
as frost tombs the sod, and the shadow hangs like crows.