Anna has never kept ducks, has friends who own
only a king-size bed and a black 'Glide she covets
to ride solo across the Painted Desert.
Afraid of heights she's walked Striding Edge
climbed a jack-in-the-beanstalk ladder
vertical up a face in the Puye Cliffs
and relaxing in bergamot fragrant suds
she ponders a home far from the city
and bookshops, the music, cafes,
friends she meets week-ends in galleries
with glass roofs and staircases
where she rarely thinks of the cave
by the river ghosting her mind
like the eyes of that seal in Wales,
the smells of a bluebell wood in spring.
She'll make extensions of wood and glass
and mud to her forever-home
will read and paint, write strange, startling phrases.
On drizzly nights she'll gaze at moons and galaxies
through glass, on soft dry evenings stretch beside
the waterfall, whispering with owls and birch trees,
chuckling as otters slide mud-glossy slopes
and foxes leap and yelp, unable to reach
the tree-house she built for her ducks.
The sea and promenade plucked
from a Dufy canvas
light and azure as a cherub in flight
but overhead, gulls try to convince us
and at the next table
a dog displays an alarming tic.
Baker's Lane and Bread Street substantial
enough but we don't expect a greeting
from the man pushing a wheelbarrow
of grain up to the old brewery.
You showed me painted angels
with wings like falcons
poised above the cathedral nave.
No surprise to see one here, swinging his legs
from a sturdy oak rafter in the tythe barn.
Giant yew teacups hover, skimming
the lawn's surface.
They're evenly spaced and ready for the tea-party.
It will probably be dark by then.
There is something to ferret out, an answer
to find but I'm unable to track the clues.
A man leans over the half-door
of his maltsters home, fizz of snowy hair
and broad grin hinting at Lewis Carroll.
It's almost mid-day but stars: insubstantial
as snail-trails, fiery as dreams, dance with the sky.
They died before the first hut of this village
was made, before the Pobble came.
The air is sweet and nutty.
Centuries ago the abbots of Glastonbury
Old man's beard and blackthorn,
enormous balls of mistletoe rung-up like bells
in all the apple trees, held in balance.
I shall sit in the bell tower this evening
as you practise, my feet together and still
as an angel so I'm not snatched up by a sally,
hurled from the open top of the tower.
(for Hedwig Brouckaert)
whatever grey is it isn't black
or a white mouse
it isn't a field
or a buzzard
it isn't the mouth of a carp
and it isn't an anaconda
grey is skyonskyonsky
wrapped in grey I am safe
am all that is
and the fizz and sparkle of a firework
the flame and the scarlet
and the sequin-light slippers
the mosses in the forest
the snail the lily bud
people who trudge and shuffle
who pass me by
have not recognised
that the skin on my neck is smiling
the muscle of my mind boogies.
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