It might be coldest at the highest point.
The place where snow can gather even in summer.
Lonely? Perhaps. Quiet? Maybe.
The peak is something to celebrate or
The limit we can reach.
The finest achievement of a lengthy endeavour or
Something to avoid, too soon.
A noted philosopher, sitting on a rock (as philosophers do)
Gazed with brave understanding at the mountaintop
As if to say, ‘Yes, me too. I know how it feels to stand
So high and so alone.
Representing many ideas and ideals
For a world to walk upon.’
Did I say philosopher? I meant politician
Who now picks up some dirt between their fingers
And lets it slowly fall to the ground again.
Did I say politician? I meant technician
Looking at the clouds and recognizing the
Ever-changing shifts of nature.
Did I say technician? I meant teacher
Sitting now with a hand resting on the warm rock
And knowing the metaphor in the difference in temperature
Between the rock and the floor.
Did I say teacher? I meant doctor.
Did I say doctor? I meant artist.
Did I say artist? I meant engineer
Sitting quietly and nodding in agreement with
Everything screaming meaning here.
Did I say engineer? I meant
World Happiness Day
Someone said, without really thinking.
And then they thought about it for a while
And it disintegrated.
They rubbed their forehead.
Where did it go?
Later it drifted back,
Settling silently like snow
And to them it seemed as cold,
As impossible to hold onto tightly.
They could not watch it quietly,
They could only play
And forget that it might go away.
What is it?
It is sadness.
Is it madness?
Is it get-a-cat-haha-crazy?
Is it glamorous-troubled-interesting-broken-lady?
Is it out-in-the-open-now-they-put-a-poster-up-it’s-fine?
Is it I’ll-say-it-now-no-I-won’t-ok-another-time?
Is it all-about-attention-not-big-not-clever?
Is it pull-yourself-together?
Is it choking-panic-is-it-morning-yet-oh-no-it’s-only-three?
Is it I’m-fine-really-I-just-drank-a-bit-too-much-coffee?
Is it selfish-you-forget-other-people-have-problems-too?
Is it I-just-needed-to-spend-a-couple-of-hours-talking-things-through?
Is it whisper-to-yourself-you’re-a-jerk?
Is it positivity-online-one-more-inspirational-quote-will-work?
Is it expanse-of-anxiety-ok-breathe-scroll-through-your-phone?
Is it you-wanted-to-be-alone?
Is it fuck-shit-fuck-bollocks-wank?
Is it how-are-you-yes-I’m-good-thanks?
Is it sadness?
Is it madness?
Takeaway Coffee Cup
I’ll probably outlast you, you know.
You can throw me away but I won’t really go.
I think I might be coated in something long-lasting.
Anyway, I’m tough.
I’m here to stay.
If I don’t get crushed in the bin
I could be a shelter for a rat in the rain,
Or I could fall into the gutter and block a drain.
I might end up on a rubbish tip
Getting picked over by gulls who used to live
By the sea.
That’d suit me.
Out in the open air with the birds,
Like in the beginning
When I was a tree.
All that processing to end up there again
Seems to me quite strange
But I suppose I held a drink for about eighteen minutes,
Carried down the street to save time.
I heard it all discussed.
It was something they must not miss.
No time for china or glass,
No time to wait.
Whatever they were going to after they threw me away
They could not be late.
Things I will say as I am dying
I’m glad that I took risks as a teenager but
I wish I’d taken more.
And why did I think I was old when I turned
Thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four?
Even as I’ve aged
I still missed my Grandmother every day.
It’s a shame we were never old together.
And yes I suppose I could have got more done.
But it often seemed so much more important to spend time
Things that weren’t really my fault, you see.
Now I’m thinking about all the things we had in common with each other.
Every missed chance with a potential lover.
Bitten tongues and stiff lips.
Go for a walk and have a few extra chips.
That went quickly.
Light – written for National Poetry Day 2015
Sitting you down on that sunny day
To pose for a photograph
Outside St David’s Cathedral
Is a clear memory.
And even if it wasn’t so easy to recall
I still have the photographs
But I don’t need them to remember. Not at all.
That day burns forth so bright
Standing out with such light
It almost hurts my memory to see.
It was a week
Of creams and yellows and whites.
Sunny every day
And everything seemed
So much lighter.
Looking back my eyes almost
Contract a little
It is a memory so bright
It almost hurts to see.
But then as my eyes adjust
To the remembered light
I strain to see more detail.
I cherish and I struggle and I fight
To keep it glowing there.
Ready and accessible with an easy unfocussed stare.
To always have it
Always keep it just here just right
In easy reach of sight.
On that day it is always light.
I Wanted To Talk
I could say that I told my problems to the sea.
Whispered them to the waves
And it was comforting.
But that wouldn’t be true.
The sea does not listen.
The sea is not you.
The sea isn’t a friend.
It has an agenda.
No. That’s not true.
The sea is beautiful and terrifying
But why do we strive to assign emotions to the sea?
It is so much bigger than us.
It is so different to you and me.
The sea is practical and vital and cold.
I am not like this
However hard I try to be
I am not like the sea.
You like summer sun.
Hot, dry days.
These are important to you.
I’m not so bothered.
I actually quite like rain sometimes but to you
Rain just won’t do.
Not in summertime.
I tell you that rain in summer
Is supposed to make the autumn leaves
More colourful and bright.
But you already know and
It does not cheer you as I had hoped.
You still look mournfully at the grey sky.
All this rain in August…
It just isn’t right.
The next day we step outside
And the sun is shining.
For a moment you narrow your eyes and sigh.
You have forgotten your sunglasses.
Why I Love Autumn
It is both subtler and brighter than summer.
I feel a lift,
When it begins.
It is the start of things.
It is with coolness and smokiness a gust of change.
Possibility and desire, at this stage.
It is the wind that puts its arm around you
And the kiss of the just warm sun.
The smile and lick of the fire.
In summer I am pale and exposed.
But autumn comes along to wrap me in soft clothes.
In summer I sniff
But in autumn I inhale,
Even when the air is icy.
Of all the seasons
Autumn seems to know me.
Its days are tailored for me.
Its colours and scents flatter and enthral me.
I wait for it with an eager face,
Waiting for it to arrive and
For the start of a new phase.
More than any place
Autumn is my home.
The five buzzards overhead circle
It seems as unlike flight
As can be imagined.
And now there is a jet
Which passes before
Its noise arrives.
It doesn’t have the buzzards’ calm.
It will never have their relevance
Or their poise.
In its path it leaves
But we wait for that to fade before
We really enjoy the sky again.
When I looked through the window and across the road at two buildings
You sit together but
You’re so different.
You don’t even reach the same height
And that would have looked
You’re different shapes.
Not necessarily a fault but you’re
Very different shapes.
Different shapes from different times.
The light hits you at
You throw different shadows.
You are joined but
Not quite one.
No space between but you lean
In different ways.
You have been subject to
Different levels of upkeep.
Those who pass
We don’t sit together yet
We’re not so different.
Beaten by two buildings that
Exist together peacefully.
They are silently doing something
We could not manage.
You’re The Only One For Me
You’re the only one for me.
By that I mean
You’re the only one on the scene.
I’d like a soulmate,
Someone I loved.
And so would you.
But for now we’ll have to make do
With each other.
In a race to the first and the last kiss
Our lips meet but our eyes miss.
From kiss to kiss to the list
Of careful conversation.
Getting pros at this.
But I don’t have to ask,
It’s perfectly clear,
That you don’t think about me when I’m not here.
And when we kiss
I don’t close my eyes anymore.
The morning hope is cold and you’re gone.
I’m left with only your smell clinging on to me.
You ranked me and I came in second best.
Still one of the best and
Better than all the rest but
There’s nothing like a flower going out of bloom
On the bride’s bouquet
To spoil the big day.
Wilting against the chest of the
Second best man and the bridesmaid
Third from the left.
The stragglers who never made the photographs thinking
‘Next year it’ll be me at the front of the church
But you ranked me and I came in second best.
So I am left to stand with all the rest,
Never to feel my head tilting against your chest.