Ad finitum

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,

Ruined us

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.

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