Each night I went to find you there,
Passed out in the garden of angels and
Wearing nothing but an Arts degree,
Your delusion imagery.
Nights when the mist lingered
Around streetlights and had the power to disguise
An ending that begun with quiet promise.
I thought there was a ship of calm that
No violence could wreck,
A tonic of wilderness,
A peace like sleep that can penetrate the bones.
But at summer’s fall,
Like a dying fever-dream my admiration backfired and buckled.
Soon I realised I was the nineteenth
And you were the twentieth century.
I banged my head
On a sky of indifference
And dressed you with words and time.
But sky has no heartbeat.
So, the branches of my soul cracked until
My heart was dilated and brilliant,
Like a blade of grass defrosted in the winter morning sun,
Mired in frozen irrevocability.
I was no more than a paper girl made bare and naked
In rain washing away sheets of writing
Under tree branches.
If my heart was paint, your body would have been stained
With the death of mine.
We held tightly to the sides,
But maybe death was the only severance
Of this Gordian knot.
Time turned insidious and traitorous,
Winter stole a summer fling.
Time passed from when we used to watch
With eyes golden hue the kindled yellow sun sink
In crimson and disappear from the edge of your garden.
Bronzed shadows heaped on high horizons
Of the possibility of a next chapter.
You wished to gather the glowing
And collect the hills and houses
And suns and blossoms to your breast and die.
Then, in the east, hills and houses
Glowed incandescent like ephemeral
Blossom against an apocalyptic sky.
Sky lines fell with purpled leaves like uncurling lifelines.
I was a bluish shadow against fading stars
And you, above, like an annunciation, hovered
A rosy transport in mid-air.
Summer may ripen the colour of our limbs
Or drench our backs with warmth,
But winters outlive summers,
And then my bones ached with bitterness,
A bitterness that was visionary.
High-octane months spent straining
After a dead effect gave way,
And left our lives in sepia tones
As technicolour flashed out.
It was your time of impotent yearning,
An inconsolable season.
You measured the hours to their solitude.
I measured my worth against intemperate mist,
Bare trees on boundaries half-erased
Where I lost my identity.
Like a boy who tears open
A flower to see what is inside,
You tore at my privacy and I left you standing
There to gratify myself in twilight as I tore at your heart.
This irreverent persistence
Made our hearts cracked and shattered
On an eternal see-saw,
One of us destroyed so that the other might exist.
As the banks burst the monument of the memory,
The wind returned,
Pushing horizons out
To sea, out to the Styx or the long-forgotten shore.
The only thing worse than the mist was the wind,
For the roads and seas disappeared and reappeared
With relentless unpredictability.
Until, in a thick November gale, my soul drowned
In a world sulking below sea-level.
A world of vague emptiness,
With only the sound of my heart’s dying metronome,
Too obscure to ever have a name.