Three Poems


Three times today I’ve gone to the window

to see what’s happening outside.

I know I’m to blame

but I hope there might be someone else

who’ll look out at the same time,

searching for another

who accepts their share of the fault.

No one’s there and I feel like an astronomer

hunting a dim, misty star

with an out of focus telescope

that he swivels around endlessly

while the star grows steadily fainter.

I know I’m to blame, but I want somebody

to blot out my guilt for just a moment,

a cloud drifting across a mountain top

and then moving on. My heart’s been stolen

and replaced by a stone; I want to give it,

but the chunky block’s too heavy to lift.

I’ve hung a curtain over my bookshelves;

all those words have given us nothing

and rules and ethics drift away

even if we’ve ever read them.

I’ve unplugged the laptop

and shoved it far back under the sofa,

but I can’t lock out what’s already inside:

the guilt pours out from everything,

overflowing the table

and making my limbs into sodden branches.

Many times I’ve seen us falling through the floor,

tumbling and spinning over and over

while we try to hold on

and save ourselves from the gaping drop.

It’s not too late, I know, we have to make a start,

now it’s time to head back to the window.


I thought I would be safe inside,

but an anxious mind cannot be shut out

when you cross the deep trench and draw in the bridge.

I construct my circle of objects

to keep out the rest of the world,

investing them with all the power I can,

but sitting at the centre, always,

is me. All who loved me or whom I loved

I have pushed far away, never to return,

while those from whom I hide grow stronger

and more numerous every day.

At the moment, they can only peek through the cracks

in my defences, but one day soon they will end this siege

and send me where I sent so many. Till then,

my conscience and I uneasily share this space.


You wake and turn to look at where I lie,

both of us propped on musing elbows;

it’s one of those many moments

when it seems right to say nothing.

I push away the tumbling hair

that shadows your face and wonder

where and who you’ve been in your dreams.

I want to go back with you next time

across the swaying bridge

but you turn away, nuzzling the sheets,

and just when I have the courage to ask,

you sleep, closing the perfect door behind you,

the one without a lock or key.

I lightly stroke your fleeing neck

and watch as you leave me once again,

flying past the endless things

on the way to where you were before. You drift

like a flight of geese arrowed at the moon,

far above the earthbound watcher

who would like more than anything to follow

but stands below muffled against the cold

and, kicking away the chance of flying

as he would a loose pebble, turns slowly for home.

Love can give space to the captive

and tightly bind the one who thinks he is free;

you have your worlds to roam in and I have mine,

and perhaps we just have to live in them.

I make to close my questing eyes and go

my own way when you stir and then you wake.

Published in Roi Faineant

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