A poem #108 – Time and sorrow

She said farewell
without uttering a word
with a look in her eye
that laid waste to all the world
and time is the grey concrete
cold and unforgiving
against the wetness of my cheeks
these tears they pool
until they fill the room
and I drown in my own doings
these worthless feelings
but that cracking cane
keeps on coming
keeps on stinging
in the wounds of consequence
the child’s weals
that never heal
another scar
on the face of things to come
what’s done, I know, is done
and the heart dies
a little more every time
I see her face
in my dreams
in the place
where we danced
through so many nights
before the candle flickered
and failed
and we gave in to the souring milk
drinking-in the complacency
of our all our faults
and all our ills
left behind with those gifts
given in an abundant
overflowing love
these are just objects now
in the mid-shade of grey
somewhere between
the light and the dark
unwanted mementos
of better times that passed
and time and sorrow
go hand in hand
married again, at last.

JP Collins

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A poem #107 – Joining of minds

The only time I smile now
is when the world stops
around me
and you creep
into my thoughts
like the smell of fresh linen
the cosy bed
and thick duvet
in mid-winter nights
by the crackling fire
and sweet moonlight
the song of skin against skin
and the joining of minds
in the candle’s flame
flickering in its beginnings
and the sweat on the windows
holding back the cold
of the night
from the warmth
and the amber glow
and wine-stained lips
and your soft smokey hair
and that dress which falls so easily
it is almost made of air.

JP Collins

A poem #106 – Foxes

Somewhere behind
those towering properties
on the Balls Pond Road
a fox cub is learning to survive
on an industrial fire escape
where it came to know its home
not venturing from the spot
where its mother gave birth to it
dumping it out into the world
onto the hard metal grating
it’s fur catching always
in the mesh
where fear and hope collide
at the juncture of a hard truth
amongst the scraps of scavenged dustbin food
Mother hasn’t returned in days
her three remaining legs
never carried her far
not then, and not today
and out in the cold
in the wet storm gutter
a faded red and brown, deflating shape
merges into the earth
and the litter
as it builds up around it
cast away unwanted
until the Council men come
and clear it away it with their shovels
plastic mingled dirt
blood and bone and all
in a black plastic bag
no farewell, no burial
slung onto a truck bed
to join the city’s rejected things
no reply as the fox cub calls
from dank metal stairwells
no tears
no dreams.

JP Collins

A poem #105 – Salt of her sea

It is always so lovely
when we speak
but she prefers salty
to sweet
she said I don’t know now
I am struggling to see
how to let this sweet taste be
said walk a mile
be with me
suffer my storms
drown in the salt of my sea
gladly would I go with you
so gladly

What a feeling to be
what you want to be
she called this feeling “freedom”
but what I had wanted to be
changed in a moment
in a week
as do the tides and the seas
in the Moon’s wax and wane
I am Autumn mourning for Summer
and Summer longing for rain
gladly would I come for you
and gladly would I change

When she left me
she was exactly as when she came
but it was I
who had been affected
it was I
who had changed
so as the moon it pulls on the ocean’s quilt
she continues to pull on me
and here I am
wanting to spill myself from the mouth of the river
into the salt of her sea
gladly would I go to you
swimming happily
but it cannot be
for I have made my home in sorrow
it cannot be
it cannot be.

JP Collins

A poem #104 – Tide

And so for the last time the tide it ebbs away
it should have brought so much life and joy
but instead of bathing in the richness of its waters, under the setting sun
we wasted too much time in wishing it would stay
Edging slowly out into the waves
hesitant and fearful, and hopping to avoid the cold of the first swells
by the moment bravery took us in its arms, the waters were waste high
not noticing they were already leaving us, simply slipping away
returning to the beach, the night draws in around us
the old moon on the horizon hangs heavy amongst the clouds
And through our wet clothes the cold wind bites like dogs at our skin
in the midnight air, for the first time, feeling something
all is done but to lay down on this sandy bed, giving consideration to the myriad distant stars
full of regret that we tiptoed shyly out to the edge of our world and not one step beyond it
and that we did not at first dive in
to drink in its richness, instead of standing on the shore and watching it pass.

JP Collins

A poem #103 – Love song 

Moonrise grip
tideway slip
firm and cool
‘gainst the bare brick wall
on this the longest
of summer nights
beneath the veil
of waning coastal lights,
that same way you kissed me, then
that’s how I kiss you.

Red leaves crisp
under rising mist
hats and scarfs
along woodland paths
all in song with
Nature’s wish
under the canopy
of Autumn’s kiss,
that same way you held me, then
that’s how I hold you.

Cold air rings
deep lungs sting
calm and slow
in dusting snow
on this the clearest
of Winter’s days
amongst the still air
and vastness of the bay,
that same way you spoke of me, then
that’s how I speak of you.

Budding yawn
rose-fingered dawn
fresh and sweet
with temperate beat
on this the day
in waking spring
new arisings
all Godly things singing,
that same soft voice that sung, then
that’s how I sing of you.

JP Collins

A poem #102 – Pleased to see you

It shames me to say
no good thought of you
has passed through my mind
since the first day
when parted ways.
Your long hair flowing
like the mouth of a river, down the bedside
and mine like the red torrent of the sea
where they should have mixed together there was instead
me not knowing, you not loving
anything
more of me.
Tiny fingers outstretched
in search of your skin
to feel the blanket in which we swaddle the world
to take the sting
from the bite of its being
but, instead:
nothing.
You asked if I was pleased
to see you, when we did
long afterwards, meet
but pleased is a happy word
sullied by the whispering slur
and I left my happiness
long ago at your teat
swept with your uncaring hand
to grow amongst
the kerb-line weeds.
So, no, I am not pleased
nor happy or aggrieved
but, the endless growings of
the motherless grey
and the numbness soaking
through the void between.
Standing here now
two adults again greet
I see that you too have taken the bottle
from it still
you drink most deep
always only, just a babe
with ruby-red flushed cheeks.
With old fingers now, shaking, outreached
to two rivers battling at the mouth of the sea
where they should have mixed forever
but still in the chop, bereaved
it is you who requires most the weaning
from the milk of the bottle
much more than me.

JP Collins