Poetry

I’m an unknown tulip seller

I

I’m an unknown tulip seller
wasting along empty streets
delivering sweet-scent bouquets
to locked-down city doors.

II

Why did I take this chance
to walk away? I remember still
that night; the shooting stars
shot through our wilted hearts.

III

I place a weak-stemmed flower
in the deserted square, a gift
for you, with a note which says,
“Take my offering of regrets.”

Standard
Poetry

On looking at a statue of the Buddha

She must have been beautiful, Prince,
and your love for her as the Ganges flows.

She must have hurt you, for you to wish
you’d never experienced the dream.

It’s vanity to walk beside beauty
and trust the pleasures of the heart.
All this was well known.

Did you tear the jewels from your ears
for being so duped?
And was the pain not enough?
Did your pride demand more?

You haven’t fooled me,
I know why you sat under a tree
for forty-nine days and nights.
I know why your legs
are awkwardly crossed.

The serenity chiselled on your face,
the laugh lines sanded away―
your own hand the torturer of flesh
that once caressed her…

Or was that too, poor Prince,
something which happened only
in your infinite mind?

Standard
Poetry

Mercenary

Notes she still writes
with warm regards,
her wounded ‘I’s capitalised
with a weak hand.

Reading without feeling,
alone in a bunk-bed,
way out past the front,
in enemy barracks.

Cut-off from logistics
and support. The walls
all shot through;
the windows smashed.

No point composing
an answer now;
no knowing which way
the war will go.

You’re a mercenary
of words, who should
never have pleased anyone
to lick your sword.

Standard
Poetry

Us

after Pablo Neruda

A difficult time
for twos,
when the number
is many.

Our four hands
cannot clasp
to form one circle.

Our four eyes
cannot lock
space between us.

Instead, we must
reach sideways
with our four hands

to grasp
who we can,
to form a circle
so large

its curvature
cannot be seen
by just one of us.

We can only trust
it will bring us
to completion.

Standard
Poetry

A scene created from bits

A scene created from bits:
the slant of one blade of grass
pulsing with van Gogh’s eye;

the shadow of a gum tree
passing through textured strokes
of wind and hooves towards

your ghost, walking the line
of the old wooden fence―what is
perpendicular or parallel ever

in the leaning years? The fence
holds shape in memory only;
the order we overlay.

Standard
Poetry

Lucky are the forgotten

Lucky are the forgotten, they live on
in violet and jasmine. Until death
the sun is always setting, never gone
from the sky; the golden light through
a high window, always on the wall.

The forgotten sip daily from a cup
dipped once in an alpine stream;
they transverse tussock and rock
to find one small flower to press
like the ancients into a book.

Standard