For whether winter comes, or not, the air
Turns white; and kisses comforts all goodbye.
This is the soft descent: there’s mercy, there,
That in this ice may even winter die.
I know that born this night were many deaths:
My faith in One is scattered. At His feast
I leave donations, meagre stockings out
For roofless others in the locking-out
Of eager souls; leave snowflakes for the rest,
And weep beside the cheery mantelpiece.
I pray the living share the lights they’ve got,
That softer gods still walk amongst the living:
And whether one believes in living God,
We’ll share a love of giving.
A postcard, wishing once that you were here:
and though I know you’re always there for me,
your thoughts have settled on another year.
I hold you in a tender memory,
hoping in this moment you might stay.
But you are centuries away.
The church rang out a passing toll,
A toll which rose to sixty-two.
He says, “Guns don’t kill people:
He pats your head, and soothing all
Disquiet, bids the beasts adieu.
But monsters don’t eat people:
The curtains sigh. The nightlight fades,
Whilst something’s keeping watch on you.
But shadows don’t lurk under beds.
Their secrets do.
A mirror glimpse reveals the shades
Who seek you with an evil eye.
But mirrors don’t steal souls:
It’s we, who try.
You dreamt of gunshot, in the thrall
Of midnight: and its rings for you.
And people don’t kill people:
We just die.
I always found the adage, “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” cold comfort. You know what saves people? Firearms regulation.
Ordinarily, the sun swerves the time across,
Slowly. A change of light may move the shadows.
Here, shadows turned the light:
The living room – in her absence, a strange epithet –
In which we filled in silent conversations
Like crossword blanks,
Where once she sat, she drew with a cigarette
The grey area: that my strength always lied
On the further side of frailness.
And from her, I only inherited cheekbones,
An empty decanter, and a tremendous
Love of weakness.
A single blob of sun, round as a thumbprint,
Yellow like headache against the blue.
Maybe a tree, a cloud of green, caught
By a thick brown arm, held like a fruit.
Overhead, a bird, perhaps, drones by
As innocent and commonplace as death.
And that thumb of sun, that yellow disc:
Its rays are propellers.
The title is a quote from Avi Dichter, former Israeli Minister of Internal Security. It is perhaps the most unsettling sentence I have read during my Masters degree in Security and Justice, thus far.
In another room, the piano plays:
removed three months ago upon
the death of a former tenant.
We thought that we’d found diamonds, in the sand:
Fragments without colour in the hand.
Only to discover, in the hard
White face of it, the daggers of a shard,
The blasted sand turned glass, its broken sift;
The firestorm leaving fractals of a gift.
The crater scorched the desert into mirror,
Death’s diamonds, mere reflections of their terror.