A Merman, The British Museum

Source: A Merman, The British Museum


The egg and the orange tree

Dark blood erupts from cracked shell, spills and spreads
Nothing of golden yolk – abomination.
Breakfast sickened, hands scrubbed three times, but resistant
Their lines hold the tang of metal
Lady Macbeth to my flock
Each bird, old and sickened in servitude
Falls on her hocks
Head lowered to the earth
Gifting one last thought – an ugly birthing.

Egg flushed away, surface disinfected – but daylong
My stomach churns in revolt
Knowing that at dusk,
Under the orange tree
My uncertain hand
Stranger to mercy killing
No softer for its timid doubt
Will force the end – a bitter despatch.
No easier for the sweet garden and fragrant passing.
For days, my revulsed heart
Carries the warm smell of death.


Now at dusk, heart slowing with torporous blood
As time pulls, stills, steps backward
Turns inside out
A trick of light.
Air turns beat black wing lifts in flight
And oh the sweet call Kurrawong
Carolling deep
Sweet as lost time
Her spiralling
In and down draws breath
Pulling in –
My world folds
Trees tilt, earth lifts
Plants twine down
To the dawn earth and water
Exhales in pure light
Ecstasy of flight

Beautiful images – and blogging

Blogging is storytelling – it is liberating to have the listening ear – the potential and unknown reader. Like the train journey where more is told to a stranger than could ever be shared with a friend. That unknown opens up a fertile space to the telling. I am enjoying others’ blogs and the beautiful images, stories and poems they share.

The Four of Us (a new poem) by Anthony Wilson

Lovely layering of images – time and perspective shifts – the clever positioning of the reader as the camera and all the ‘back stories’ hinted – and all the future unknowns waiting… So enjoyed this poem. Thanks Anthony for sharing the London Grip magazine too.

Anthony Wilson


I am delighted to have The Four of Us, a new poem, inĀ London Grip New Poetry, which you can find here.

With thanks to the editors and Michael Bartholomew-Biggs.

You can read more new poems of mine here

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Poem for my Father

The city falls

Slow dissolution of mortar, iron and stone,

Fantastic cornices fail one by one,

Silent, unnoticed, irreparable.

The child alone built this city.

A farm boy, small hands clotted with dust, eyes burning with lime

Alive to the wild geometry of the mind.

The young man filled his city with mathematics

And rich music of many tongues

The escape of ideas: structures wired and alive

Grew strong through science.

The Big Man deceived by his own fragile importance

Coat pockets heavy with flatterers, red-lipped voluptuaries

Strutting King of naiive vanity and repentance.

The boy buried beneath the suit, steel blue Jaguar, and whisky glass

His fervent promises whispered into fragrant hair and curved ear.

City crumbling, its white roads confused

The old man king of one room, one chair:

Empty prayers mouthed in confessional darkness

Father forgive me for I have sinned…

No visitors from Lodge or club, admirers gone

His carer said he was a gentleman to the end

Sins diminished by long perspective.

To the boy drowned

Now I sit alone in the garden we planted together
Where we smiled to retell stories of how we met,
Hand-fasted in times long past.
I was certain I remembered you
Rise like new life
From the fern-green stream at Llynn Gwynant
When I held your icy skin to mine
Wet hair in otter-fur points, peaty water on my lips
Ah love – the beautiful boy you were.
Blood spoke our togetherness in times long before that day
And hawk above and brown trout below sang sweet of our belonging.

And will we meet again in another life, now all is lost in this –
Our young eyes dappled anew with half-remembering?
Or is the nerve-line shattered, its white bones part of a deeper breaking?
I was certain I saw you drowning,
Bloated face sinking deep underwater.

Your thirst for delirium devoured self:
The multiplying glass poured into gaping mouth
Bottle in hand – proud staggering
The ‘last man standing’, painkillers rattling against your ribs,
All boastful strut, arrogant Welsh heart
Your young face mottled and brain shrinking
Raging gorge swallowing the sweet lake,
The trout stream and the fresh grass,
My whispered mourning and the dew
On soft powdered lichen stone

This mountain crashing downward
My body distorted to support your fall,
Complicit. Responsible. Lost.
Dwindling in the long lens of your backward gaze
I am your broken hope.
Our green love diminished
I cradle a nest of bones in the bracken.

Our brackish stream draws backwards to its source
A huge sucking in of the earth’s breath
May my ashes be cast there at Lynn Gwynant
At the dark pool where we began
My carbon to join the mud of that dark lake
Sheer and forbidding, a sober homecoming

Beyond the gaudy tourist tat, flags, bawling babes and fat families
Swapping trinkets and cream teas
Beyond the real ale and bearded walkers’ tales of great climbs
Beyond Gelert’s Grave, the Celtic Jewellery, and heart-swelling choir
A smaller tale, of love and loss
Of two lives drowned as one.