Our voices are low in the gas fire light
the orange glow from the three bars
mumbles soft, somber, and slow tonight
The shadows, still, in the corners fall
where flames in passions past
danced high up the walls
We sold our desires by an inch of a candle
and now we are paying over the odds
I wish we had shared all of our truths
while our voices could still speak of god
Now the white maiden dress
browned in the dirt of experience
and washed with the milk of Moon tea
No song no more from that old piano
where the ash from the coal fire
settled on the keys
And on this the passing of the last day of Winter
the birds in her heart will take their final flight
There will be no words to the ear, no note on the night stand
only half a bed and half a man of untold scars
at the break of this last spring’s light
A toast, then, to the good times
and to the hearts that ran so free
we’ll dance to the jaunt of our old bones now
and the bleak and fading mind
that’s welcomed-in the grey of the sea
And when the bed is cold and the gas fire waned
I will look up through the night to see
amongst all the million suns up there
the moon is where you’ll be.
Both of us talk low in the gaslight
our nerves tremble against the air
digging up ghosts from where we know they are lying
in the absolute darkness and the space between tears.
Embraced with each other we sway in the jaunt of the piano
where Hope rolls over the hill
we are two lamps in the small hours clinging to the half light
and the embers from the coal fire that settle on the sill.
You say “it looks a little more like love
now we’ve cleared the air”
all the hurts laid out before us:
too many for us to count or about which to care.
Even still, we hide from each other our deepest scars
as if a child can somehow learn the world from the womb
and so the time it has come and down on one knee I ask you:
with all the billions of suns up there, what make you of the moon?
Nothing works anymore.
I once had the parameters in “tight”.
It was all working right.
Then the humidity started falling out of range,
the extractor fan stayed on for days.
It’s not the only thing that can’t cope with change.
The tap drips constantly in protest.
Limescale tarnishes all that was clear, and it’s always in jest.
I once had reason present in my mind.
I was able to fight.
The Water Board came round and shut the water off,
the tap ached as it stopped.
It’s not the only thing that aches in this box.
The floor is bare, a splintering trap.
Newspapers used to fall on the mat.
I once had soft oak, and friends to invite.
It was all lit dreamily in the soft morning light.
Then the sun died and the clouds pushed through,
now the floor is barely a floor anymore, it is barely anything at all.
The wood is wet with my tears, for I am like to bawl.
It’s not the only thing that is nothing at all.
The lamp flickers and hums like a wasp is caught in the shade.
This is the din
that I have made.
I once had everything in its place.
It was the finest of tastes.
Then the disconnecting silence filled the halls.
The lamp stopped humming and it threw darkness up the walls.
The telephone doesn’t ring, nobody calls.
These are not the only things that have become this small.
These are not the only things that have become nothing at all.
She said to me “Son, go steady,
you are not yet ready
to sing this song.
Unclench your fist, bite your lip:
some men are better with words
than they are with bombs.
“Blood near boils in the heat of a fight;
and whilst you are right,
you are wrong.
Take a moment, catch your breath:
the measure of a man is in how he moves on
from the thing that’s already done.
“Where a mother has a right to mother,
don’t stay always under this cover:
even weeds grow in the shade.
know when to love and when to leave,
know when to smile and when to grieve.
Know when to hide under the pain,
Know when to break into a million pieces:
many a good thing from broken parts
can be made.”
What I do in the morning when I get out of my lovely, warm bed: Stub my toe on the cold, hard table; anger grips me in its choke-hold and I swear… a lot. The wife doesn’t look happy with me, she never does when I get angry – I get this from my Father, but I’m trying to change.
Things I am scared our children will do: Bump their knees and use their anger against the pain like I do, instead of accepting it for what it is.
What I see on the side of the road on the way to work: A police sign that looks like an advert. Not the usual one that says “fatal accident here!” with the date underneath, but one that said “fatal injury, can you help?” I thought I might phone the police and offer my services, but they would probably send an officer out to section me.
What I did when I stopped chuckling to myself over the road sign: Pondered the poor person or persons that were in that accident, and the people they left behind. Life is so fragile. I hoped they lived theirs to the full.
What Beyoncé sings on the radio: To the left, to the left; everything you own in a box to the left.
Where I think she is standing: Next to her house.
What my head is: Feeling better, for the most part.
“Be compassionate to yourself. That means being gentle to yourself at times when you feel like being self-critical. Think what you’d say to encourage a friend in a similar situation. We often give far better advice to others than we do to ourselves.”