various ragged fringes

part two


The Sparkler

Crackling brainwire: The electric burning out---
He blew a fuse?

Withdrawal from a dream as from
A loved one, alcohol, a drug, a loved one:
There were bleating goats.
We were in a pub.
The girl was called My Loved One,
With me like a pint of bitter to my hand.
She was gone.
There was a sideboard where had been a bar.
Someone was coming in by the door:
A muffled banging. Someone locked out.
Someone was triding across the bar.
Someone was being suppressed.
I thought I knew who that someone was:
**** ******* *** ** *****
[That someone was my child]

A bustle delivered us from that
And we were sitting on a wall.
Two goats were bleating on an axle:
An Articulated Truck.
The truck pulled out in my panic:
Should I have acted?

A race of thought across a set of misconnections,
Times we lost each other on the way.
And the sea beats like drums on the walls of my ears.
On a dull door, to the blood-throb.
Sometimes I think I Am You.
The dirty silence sucks me up
And I fail to connect.
She is blond; she saves gold;
Her hair in bar-light glitters. And:
How long will this go on?:
The muffled banging; the child shut out;
The truck that took the goods away;
The burning electricity; the waiting-room
And the train.
We get out wires so crossed
I can't explain

The silence of the sun or du soleil
The ears: oreilles. Les enfants
Du sommeil.
A screech of pain.
La faerie s'eveille.

A glass ship asleep in the sun.
A ghost ship appears off the Isle of Noirmoutier.
Voices call to island souls:
Leave bodies! Sail to Galloway!

Throngs flock on wires to get across.

The two goats: The two breasts
Of a lost opportunity and meetings missed.
Why had I the line suppressed?
The dream's a blessed mess:
The absence of bliss;
A kiss bound in promise by coopers' hoops;
The blended moss; the goats ghosts
Of past brats and muffled banging.
They articulate the disappearing truck

The Glint of  Copper in a Yorkshire Public House, that Acts as a Reminder

Of the act of cleavage after which the people fall apart, learning to act dispersing parts of skilled trade. Some set wood patterns into sand for runs of setting molten metals; some make tables; some learn to print textx. So a dynasty of silversmiths sits on the coffee-table. So the dynasty of smiths who knew the lay of land, who drew the sword of iron from the stone of ore, have set it in a riddle of the cinders of legend, in the hillside, in the text of the land. This is what is The Matter With Britain. A simple shift of vowels or our preposition. A prehistory of tinker bards, mending their p's & q's. It may not be the presence of the Celts that gives a quality of rare blue air to the rocky western coastlines of these islands. I felt it once in Portugal. The Gold Coasts hint a trade in slaves and glimmer wuth the beauty of Imperial Romano-British dead. It is the beauty in our hearts. Tin glitters silver deep in mines of sleep reflecting resonances of nostalgic, diplomatic trade. Phoenicians were the most promontory of semicolonists. They somehow slipped into the green hill text. The archaeology of trade is discount, bound in books and sheafed: A silver tray displayed by a negro butler as the evening darkens in a study that was opulent, and fraudulent: A scene that faded after sunset when a man went down to drink away the evening, with all the confidence of one who knows exactly which oblivion he wants: Forgetfulness of seashores where we sat, the climate light, and delicate the air. The south-west freshens and brings on reminders of our ocean welfare, the featherbedding, the opulence of celtic sunsets. And who we were is carried water on the wind to be deposited upon whatever moor. There is this world we share, a common substance, common quality, as rare blue air of these islands was once clear, the planet turning, confident, his needs, her needs, to be fulfilled, into the dark, the distance the lines cross, across the board, and out to there. The sea is washed-up on the shore. And afterdark: Stark terrors dulled and clubbed into a kind of dreamdark sweetness. Right across the alehouse lines are spread inclining to some named oblivion: The Afterdar as bare of all Reminders.

Some animals that moved about within the afterdark came up to stare at the remainders of a feast of bygone pleasures that the host had fled from. They reminded me of fish of prey who surface as the ancestors approach the portals in a play of dreams brought to a fisherman's hand. The mackerel are thick and sleek of flesh. There's smoke that's blood over the headland after sunset. Sky a livid flame.

The cliff: The sea roar near: The waves pulled back to roar dip in to drown in drums. It all went black.

It's not the absence that inhabits gleaming seashores, but the absence of an absence that declares it: Silver among the greens; Palace of fire on the sea-rim.


Loch Sunart, heel an' toe, the fingers inter-lock.
The goods go out to remote fringes
Changing hands, and charged for
Higher prices yet:
The mark-up is a function of
An endless set of lochs.

The road leads on beyond a solitary piper wailing
In the rain by courtesy of the development
(Highlands & Islands) and his drone
Describes the wind and rain, and can
Depress the heart most dismally
Long after it is heard no more.
The tourists call the tunes.

The sea is slack, shale -grey.
The rains fall on a site marked out
For further craft and highland information.

Foam is windblown back
To streak in streams across black loch.
The trees sway; twigs break off.
It's hard to brave a way against the gale.

Sea passages from dream: shimmering eyelets
Landlock shimmering drop.

The boats that pass like clouds and clouds
Passing like islands: Rafts across
A fairy water cross
A glittering Atlantic passage:

Such water that's vital
Stings throat and stings tongue.

Campers in the dawn make fires of sticks
Until all leafage is a blaze of fairy,
And the essence is:
A sheen of sun on skein of  esk 
And all the passages are luminescent.

Fires of sticks. Smoke and coffee. Cloud Sea
Raasay Skye. A cigarette and woodfire.
A vestal task: To draw clean water;
Keep the speech alive; to clean your teeth
And keep the speech clean.

Birch, rowan, scrub and mushroom
Crowding down upon the foreshore,
Making whisky blaze in the imagination:
Sea. Bird. Rock and island: Out:
A sgurr in the sliver across the eyeball.

Flame or leaf clings to the branches,
Leaves the wood, touches a barren land
With gentleness. Bare rock
Is castled in the heart. A barren land.
An open castle, golden in the open heart.
And another castle further out
Within the heart, but sunwards, out
Across a sea-track.

The speeches fail us.

The Whisky

The whisky is aqua vitae, an elixir aphrodisiac.
A music raising sight beyond the crest of wave
Blown back to spray streaks in its spindrift
Back along the wind direction
And what follows
Enfolds like a sheep,
Like a furred or woolly sleep.

Fire in the blood is no impediment to song.
The palate blazes with a fire's reflection
In the hearth. Outsize raiders/
Outside razors shine a threat
So we reach for a glass of aqua vitae,
An expedient for many,
Drawing voices out to sing:
This time I want you all to sing along,

A wave of music lifts us off,
Lifts a heart in delight at the skills so quick to finger
The exhilarating rings, the reels of evening pleasure,
Dancing reels reflected in the whisky.

A Seasonal Migration

In a brief fluorescence shines a threat:
Policemen waiting.
Televisions are turned on.
There are bombs in the nine o'clock news.

But the mind's elusive lady has connection with
White horses passing out of just beyond
A grasp of hands.

Dead yeartime, darkening in advent.
Healths are thick with virus
And we cough away across whatever downs.

The bombs drop in an influenzic still.
And off her horse she has a most familiar and welcome grin.
She fills her dancers with spirit. They
A purpose to be merry in the light
Spilled from the tap-room door:
With strange remembrance, spirit, light and love,
We are lit up from above.

Quintessence of grain warms the heart.
The characters withdraw into the text
To drink with the grain of midwinter comfort.

Chalice and Iris

Moon Swell-Belly Full by June the Twenty-Sixth:
See her burst her belly out
These last few days.

A redness streaks the eyeball:
Face clear pale and cold,
A radiant summer iris night.

Night? 23.30 hours
And the air has this amazing light.

Midnight and the bright dome settles to this
Ordinary Roar of Space
When cloud-islands are luminous
With what the day has been.

A look through glass

The chalice is that winning spirit:
Who Has Got It?

Symbol radiates a land illumined.

Flash: A mirror or car headlight
From the wooded moor
Revives this Ordinary Roar of Space.
When is a mirror not a door?

The ghost fades from our eyes.
Our irises awake.

In summer rolling hills roll like our waves roll.
We go bowling out in all our cars:
A sense demystified, a gauze stripped from our eyes.
There is this dome we share:
Come iris mirror headlight chalice
To my pen. Come doves sweep slide and glide
Onto my tongue:
My cupped hands bringing water
With a blue within.
See the clouds in the skin of my hand!
Drink my water!

chalice & iris

There comes a moment when
A dark grey silverfringed cloud of a heartsuddenness
Shadows the sun.

Sudden gust and a fall.
Water sparkles again.

See water? In the clouds of my hand?
On the cloak of a standing illusion.

The sun shines on patches of land
And we turn towards shadow again.

myosotis scorpiodes
And the true forget-me-not.

Cloud hill of lime

Man of water on a soft green hill,
There is an entrance here,
Questions water, fingers cloud turned hill;
Wrings tears from clenched eyes;
Springs water from rock
With his supple twig.

Cloud hill of limestone, chalk and clay.
A land of apples heaped up in a metal bowl.

Come of age we step onto a windy field
To be slapped in the face by nothing but water.

The children followed a fine robed-hooded man
Into the hill, his finger
Pointing out the way. The last child let
The tinkle of an ice-cream wagon hold him back.

the pointing finger

He dips his fingerbones into a bowl of bronze
And scatters
Water in air.

Fat cattle graze the plain below;
Fat apples raised from seed.
And all the wealth is sunk in cheese and cider.

the door swings open

Bright faces in the bar,
A slow-handed bar-tender.

The tap-room door is on the latch.

Shoulders make the way a path
Towards a hatch of warm light,
A public bar away from wind
Where messages of wind sink in.

On to Part Three?


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