Poem on her birthday

Your gifts to me are of the lasting kind,
Emblems of secret blazonry;
Messages in hieratic:
Hieric, irenic.

Practical gifts from you are in my house,
Indistinct in that dim fell gestalt.
Quiet keyholders they,
Serving, standing waiting.

Your most private gift, of warmth, of love,
(Fingers with a moth's touch;
And as iron bars—sweet cage)
Is evanesced to a shade.

This ghost is in the earth and sky about
Wherever you have been.
Your imprint is on English land,
An eyefleck?—Just a dream?

A haunt is in my head, and in my house
By dim sentinels unlocked;
In my sometime drowning;
And in my understanding.

This my gift to you is offered,
Awkward, slow.
In unequal recompense
For greater.

1982 

 

Contrary lady

When first your fair face I saw
I lost my heart,
Completely

After that time I did learn
To expect nothing
(Resignedly)

Leaning forward revealingly
You looked at me -
Invitingly?

I asked you did you? would you?
You flew at me
Furiously.

I half woke to your caresses,
But torpor held me
(Regretfully).

I woke you with my caresses:
You glared at me
Self righteously.

Boredom in the shops I showed:
You berated me
(Unnecessarily?)

In the bargain bookshop I browsed:
You stamped your foot
Impatiently.

And I also remember you
Gazing at me
Lovingly.

1982

 

On meeting after thirty years

Words of convention (our ready shield)
Set next impulsive revelation
Half said, half changed or hid in caution:

Approach, withdraw, the natural shape
Of merely five small hours, that meeting
Compressed charged vortices containing

(Potent and bewitching) compelling
To long winds of half a life, entranced,
Alchemy of gene and circumstance

A crucible on whose coals years past
We briefly met and, briefly, parted,
The furnace fueled, but gold not started.

Blown by the past, anchoring our present,
We did well, in five long hours, and went.

1991


Begins my day

I wake each morning with the memory
Of you (your body's fineness: delicate,
Sweet, smooth and strong) actual against me;
Firm softness—fingers with a careful touch,
Small hesitance deepest feelings stirring.

These things deserve not any wordiness,
Except our spirits intermingled are,
Through the wide doors of our bodies' wholeness:
Not spirits only, bodies merely, but
Both in one—fingers with a prayerful touch;

Spirits weaving. The windows of the soul
Still trustful shut, I wake each morning with
Your spirit, bodily against me, whole.
So, deeply touched, a smile begins my day.

1992 

 

Your aurora borealis 

At your northerly end
Leonine locks
Frame warmest brown eyes,
And—a warning:
Be sure don't transgress!—
Firm but reposeful lips.

Determination is there,
And an ancient hurt.
Lips parting, these vanish
(Face wider, and eyes).:
Attribute of your soul,
Your smile is larger than you.

1993 

 

Letter to my love

It is in the quiet times
At the beginnings and endings of days:
On waking
When morning light streams through the gap in the curtains,
As I quietly make the daily journey
From sleep to consciousness,
Before the stress and press of worldly occupations
Take hold of me;

And also when the natural lessening of energy comes
As night falls,
When that daily focus on the outwardness of earthly life
Falls naturally away,
And I close the curtains and settle down,
Perhaps for a little reading, or watching a film.

It is at these times I wish to say to you, my dearest love,
How much I miss your presence,
How much I feel your absence;
It is at these quiet times
That I long for your tangible bodily presence,
To feel your weight and warmth
Energetically against me.

It is at such times as these
I light a candle for your lovely laughing Buddha,
Stroke a singing bowl or two,
Or maybe blow a tune through clarinet or else recorder.
And it is then,
Just at such times as those,
I feel your very essence faintly forms a glow around me.

2011