A Devil’s Bridge

 

devil-bridge-pic

 

Throughout our world is granite proof

Of the devil’s hand:

 

Bridges too ancient to have used

The techniques of man,

 

To manipulate the stone itself

To hold in place;

 

The mass of rock impossible

To bear its weight

 

Across an impassible gulf,

A dream too wide.

 

A fiendish architect had to abet

This treacherous lane,

 

To construct this path on earth: to pave

The mortar in these stones,

 

The devil’s hand, they say, was in it.

Man sold his soul

 

To lease a bridge which still demands

The greatest toll.

 

 

Short little piece on devil’s bridges. I am not convinced by the folkloric claims myself, but it certainly adds an air of mystery to them. Pictured is the Rakotzbrücke in Germany, a particularly fairytale-like example. 

Half Rhymes to my Nemesis

 

sherlock nemesis.jpg

 

The basis of all lasting loves is, of course,

The sense of danger.

 

I place my piece on the checkered board,

You cast your wager;

 

Keep me on my toes, poised in position

For a moment’s threat,

 

Held tight in the throes of anticipation,

A grasping breath.

 

And so, I treat you as my one

Nemesis; and like all true

 

Nemeses, I dedicate my soul,

My waking life to you.

 

Sparring partner, my opponent.

I stake my claim,

 

For all I am, every waking moment

In our lovers’ game.

 

I second-guess you, test my chances

As a doubter

 

Too wary not throw spilt salt behind

His own left shoulder;

 

A grown man who still dare not glance

In a darkened room,

 

Held by your menace, there; thrilled by

Your next move.

 

 

For Blair. Keep me on my toes. 

Art by “Hoo0”: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Sherlock-Moriarty-293702850; http://hoo0.deviantart.com/

A Surfeit of Autumn

 

autumn surfeit.jpg

 

It is not for a lack of love

That my heart is burdened,

But the surfeit;

 

Not from loss of dappled leaves

That the golden birches

Now must suffer:

 

The ochre patterns long to live.

But their pain has broadened

Their wait from summer.

 

No branch can hold that gold aloft,

The weight unbidden,

A hurtful summit;

 

And it is not for a lack of love

That my heart’s now burdened,

But the surfeit.

 

 

For Mum. 

 

Under the Weather

 

changingweather

 

I am awfully British. Terribly, terribly British. And it is an entirely correct accusation against us that we are fixated on our ever-changing weather. Our temperate maritime climate is just one endless kaleidoscopic mess. Every day is a sodden adventure. But we have incorporated this into our collective psyche, our language for moods, emotions, fears, aspirations. That, I think, can be quite beautiful. 

 

Like a passing cloud. You speak

About this mood as though

The weather itself is changeable, a

Storm in a teacup, prone

To blowing hot and cold, subject

To changing pressures.

You accuse us of pathetic fallacy.

 

The sky though, despite seeming

Ever-changeable, has memory.

She has played these colours

Countless times.

Over our heads she has draped

Herself in lilacs, lowering herself

To deeper hues, as she seeps in blue

Time and time again. She has

Never changed in that respect, my dear,

 

Delighting overhead,

Writing her own turns of phrase

And inspiring ours;

It may seem though it’s changing, but

It’s the same old dance of an shameless atmosphere.

 

And unlike our moods, the sky

Is endless.

 

 

Throwaway

 

We cling to keepsakes we should lose,

The ornamental stuff;

And choose to sell those simple things

Of which there aren’t enough.

 

Precious moments, thrown like coins,

We spend them, for we must.

While years are lost on older hearts,

Who gather them like dust;

 

Faith is misspent by the trusting,

The faithful and forgiving;

Our youth is wasted on the young,

As love is, on the living.

 

 

My brother once wrote a poem to the effect that, if youth is wasted on the young, then wisdom is wasted on the living. The young, of course, cannot be told. Youth cannot be invested: it can only be spent. And our final years cannot be frittered meaninglessly, but instead must be treasured. There’s an ironic symmetry to it.

By way of an analogous metaphor, we say that our “patience is spent,” or we “lose our temper.” Interesting linguistics there. These are qualities we should keep, in a way; but are fungible, devoured through use. 

So, I quickly jotted out a brief lyrical verse. Quite jolly in meter, I suppose, despite the subject matter. 

“Scream”

 

scream-actress-image

 

Dedicated to our loving Mother. Based entirely on true events. 

 

 

We were eight. And so our loving mother

Sat us down, to watch a horror film

Not fit for people twice our tender age.

 

It was, naturally,

Too much. My brother (a total state) sobbed

Silently, so as not to smother

The sound of violence, rage and tension which streaked

Steel-like again and again against the cheerleader’s

Neck.

 

Mother told us to watch. She bullied us

Bloody heck just watch,

Even if we only peeked through our little hands:

To not look away, but to watch until

The bitter end.

 

We shook, and huddled shaking, until

The background blackened: at last, the credits, look,

As white text dragged itself up apologetically, a disclaimer,

That there was in fact an army of screenwriters,

Responsible for a number of minor edits;

A flotilla of make-up artists, some appointed

Solely for fake rip wounds; a coterie

Of extra cheerleaders, simply there

To make up the bloody numbers. There was a “Grip”

And a “Best Boy” and we howled, we howled

Laughing, because we didn’t know what that meant,

And we still do not know, now.

 

It was entirely sound and fury. The make-up ladies

Had made a painted devil for us. Mother let

Us stand upright, at last, teeter ever so slightly

And breathe again as she turned on the lamplight;

 

Only finally saying,

“It was painless after all, wasn’t it? No,

You’ve nothing to worry about from horror films.

But you should be worried about cars. You should

Be frightened of having your brains cracked open

Like eggs on the pavement. You should fear

People who mean you harm – believe me, they’re out there,

Not in a mask, not with a kitchen knife,

But with P45’s and a smile. Anyway. Night-night.”

 

We dared not ask. But with that bombshell

Still resounding, pounding in our ears,

Somehow, God only knows how,

We were sent to bed: the darkness

Emerging before our eyes after a while, the final ending

Blacking out; the white rolling thoughts

Of something sinister, further on in life,

One day soon, ascending.

Geb and Nut: The Myth of Earth and Sky

 

Geb and Nut.jpg

 

 

The god of the earth, Geb, lay down

Under her. And she, so clear and beautiful,

The goddess of the sky, draped herself

Like silk upon him; for she, Nut, most

 

Azure and bright, did love him, so.

Their love was days and eons. Even though

They were two panes, two hemispheres,

They were as one in love, both wind and dust.

 

Every morning, she gave birth to the

Ferocious Ra, who shone like war,

Arched triumphantly between them; and at night,

Was devoured into darkness again.

 

One day Ra envied their adoration,

Their proximity, their infiniteness, their light;

And he raged. He pushed them apart

With steel wings, bright as fire or pain,

 

Denying their desire forever: only

Ever to touch, hand to hand, foot to foot,

By dawn or dusk. The lovers wept,

Rain descended: so dawn and dusk grew dark.

 

Now we, too, awake to be separated

By our jealous sun, kept like night and day

Apart from one another: only to touch

By our hands and feet, a love crepuscular,

 

Tangential to our different lives. We meet

At a purple hour, bruise-coloured sky

And shadowed earth. But our fingertips,

At least, are reminded each to each;

 

As though across a window pane, our fingers

Press together. I can see you, Geb.

We will lie side by side: but until then,

Our extremities on a faint horizon, touch.