Image of the artist

 

As you get to work, I see you better:

Dark eyes trained to the lines, your fingertips

Following to form. Your neck tilts, dips

Like a bird over water; yearning closer to

Your image. A fringe of dreamy waves

Sweeps your face, caresses its own fine

And extempore design, as the pencil guides

Your hand to trace the beauty of it. Gentle,

Curves in motion, detail in the touch:

Shoulders lean, head drifts closer, as if

Impatient to devour that final sight,

Your true anatomy is drawn to relief,

The urge for beauty, the delight in colour.

Yes: as you lean close, I see you better.

 

 

For Blair. When I see you designing costumes, depicting characters, imagining worlds or just playfully doodling, it pleases me. I love to see you delighting in art. It is beauty, pursuing beauty. 

After the rain

 

After the storm, you opened the windows

And let it in: clean air. At once it felt

As fresh laundry or woodgrain to the scent,

You said: cool as two feet in the sea,

Blessed like water, pale as gentle morning.

The petrichor wept, as if the earth had, after

Too long holding its heart, at last

Given love its first gasp. You stood by,

Arms stretched to the frames, welcoming

The silent change. After the rain, we kept

The touch of it with us, brisk, wondrous.

 

 

Isn’t that fresh smell after rain just divine? Earthy, dusky, but clean and bright. The etymology of the word “petrichor” is really rather interesting, too. 

We become panorama

 

Crepuscular rays pic

 

From here, the colours deepen,

Fill the blood:

Dense scents of pollen, tasting

The urge of the woods.

 

Weights off the mind, short-lifted,

A breath of dusk.

Half-glass empty of sifted

Trace dust;

 

Trees which make the wind

Rush for every breath;

Waving goodbye to the end

Of aftermath,

 

Eased to fade, the longed-for

Crepuscular

Extent of what awoke before:

And now, we are.

 

 

At last, a beautiful evening. And I turned to mystical pastoral poetry, because why not. Inspired largely by the Kate Bush album Aerial. 

The Hornet

 

 

The sun, reluctant to move, lay where he was:

We suffered underneath in pleasant shade

Of beer-garden birches, blue sky above awash

With relished light. No single word was said

That was not laughter. Your collar coolly opened

Like a flower; you had half-devoured the nectar

Of your drink; a separate shadow floated

Nearby, making shadow sounds: a mixture

Of leafy rushes and something, just what was it:

Something seething. I rose my dreamy head

To nightmare: back arched, jerk-kneed in the panic

We leapt, careering over the table’s wood

To fly from the hornet. Heavier than sound,

Duller than dread, it thundered motionless

About our wine – table, abandoned now,

Like Chernobyl or Nagasaki, sparse hopelessness.

It presumed droit de seigneur over your glass

And, as a lord, plunged graceless to the wine –

No truer horror have I known than this –

And in its drunken spite, spat out in bile

And spurts of yellow-stinging suicide,

We looked on as orphans at the animal,

The beast that bereaved us. It thanklessly slid

Into your drink, gargled like a broth

Of foulest brew, it frothed and spat and we

Could not believe how long hate took to die:

Leaving a half-preserved atrocity

Floating in wine, glass prism, mortuary.

 

 

Based on true events. There is nothing in England – no predator, natural phenomenon or otherworldly presence – so foul and abominable, monstrous, reckless, undignified, capricious and putrescent as the hornet. Here, I have tried to use the hornet potentially as a metaphor for a certain topic of conversation – something bigoted and unwelcome – descending upon us during an otherwise pleasant afternoon at the pub. It ruins the day. It ruins everything. It gluts on our wine and feeds, grows fat and loud in our company. It brings us to the level of a revolting and vicious creature.
 

Although in all honesty, this was originally just a sort of written therapy to exorcise from my memory just how bloody horrible the hornet was. 

 

 

Confession of a Househusband

 

I suppose because I’ve broken out

The finery – the candles, scented;

Bottled romance, glasses brimmed

As I, with expectation – that

You think I’m up to something. Something’s

Up. The crockery; a slice of torte,

Its corner pointing descriptively

To you, is such a telltale sign

That you can even taste it. Wine,

Sweet wine, and scents of music kiss

The air… how, quaint? I waited for your time,

To kick off shoes and grumble how

The whole deal went. And here I am,

Bringing out whatever I’ve been roasting,

Carving it up. You’re half expecting

Bunnies boiled like coq au vin, my dear!

You see the way I welcome you:

You dread to think what’s in the stew.

I’m aligning plates – you note the cutlery,

You clocked the knife – a rose delights

In a handsome empty bottle. I suppose,

I say, as I caress the plate’s white rim

And bite my lip, taste wine-blood doing so:

You’ve thought this day would come, have seen

Sweet threats before – but honey bear,

You married one. You married tension:

And dear, although we both adore Glen Close,

I’m simply happy that you’re home. I know

It’s cruel to loom, to seem so sinister:

But tell me that the warmth of bubbles, so

Luxuriant in our bath, won’t ease a smile.

The joke is, you’re entirely adored.

So yes, I’ve spun a home to ambush you:

The truth is, I have set a place for two.

 

 

Somewhere between delightful househusbandry and neurotic, bunny-boiling spitefulness lies marital bliss. 

Flow

Clear water stream pic

And now I see – though clear, invisible –

The nakedness of water. See her form

Delight on shores and stones, poured over rocks,

Dance in cascades, unclothed and without care.

I wonder if she saw me watching here,

Would she cover herself, or rush to hide from me:

But I think not. Though her moods do shift and stray,

She’s wiser than that. She moves as she will move,

Clear water in streams: no shame in what she does,

Like the day she was born, open, in her time.

Jealous Moon

 

If you love the moon so much, you cried,

Then marry her! You even turned her way

To stare her out: as if to put the moon

Back in her place (that is to say, in orbit).

She blushed, in a bloodless, pretty kind of way

And I laughed. However, though you mock it much

I care for her; and though you feign jealousy,

If you look too long perhaps you’ll see, my love,

That the moon is deep with jealousy of us.