Sunday, March 1, 2020



The Major General

The major general was an ageing stalwart of empire.
Swaggering over the battlefields of inner-city slums,
Scattering mothers and their children
Into small heaps on the sides of pavements,
The collateral damage of his daily dalliances behind
Enemy lines.
Aloof and privileged, arrogant and angry, he accepted
Passing acknowledgements
With a disdainful sneer and a bark that lingered
Long after the echo had faded.

And at 9 am each morning, the pavements cleared,
Battle fatigued and wheezing,
He would stop outside our door to gather his breath
And lift his leg.
And always I went outside to greet him thus,
“Good morning Major general, how are you today?”
And always he would answer by showing me
The arsenal of his anger,
Yellow teeth and parade ground snarl that sent me
Scurrying back the way I had come.
His master’s voice behind me loud but oddly soothing,
“Come along Major general, there’s a good chap,
The gin and tonic is waiting!”

The Healing Process

The pond is a tin can prised open,
The surface of it’s contents a grey sheen
Of pre-sunset sky
And the fleshless limbs of wasted trees.
And just below that unruffled surface
Carp are entering the vacant spaces left behind
By the invasive pursuits of summer past,
Each one a monochrome
Reflection of another one’s suffering.
Dressed in the scars of line and hook
They drift in winter stupor through that twilight,
Mesmerized and soothed
By the gentle sound of a soft breeze singing
A flute of sunset water,
The healing process re imagined.

Camp Fire Canine Dreaming

Smokey moonlight, opulent sky, a camp fire,
The dog snoring loudly,
A roughly stitched hessian sack
Of noise.
Her tail rises slowly, falls again quickly, a single
Thump of bone on frosty ground.
Sighs, murmurs soft as a baby dreaming
Of the breast,
The hint of more substantial sounds
To come.
Grunts, rolling over, splashing through
A puddle of moonlight,
Stretches, a low growl scraping the back
Of her throat,
Twitches, twitches, twitching ever more violently,
Her body squeezed between spasms,
Until, with a single blunt bark,
Like a blind untethered, her eyes snap open.
A shadow crosses the moon,
Flames dance and the wood crackles
In the star lit hearth.

Song Of The Soil

Shrugging off sleep it emerges from mid winter slumber
Coughing, opening it’s eyes
Illuminating the grey heavy gloomy afternoon.
Staggers, stumbles,
Lurching from side to side clinging precariously
To the green brown slab of hillside
Emitting a low throttle throb of anxiety.
Finding firmer ground it sets it’s all weather, all terrain
Boots on greener turf,
Shoulders back, eyes front it strides out across
The hillside pasture
Singing in the slightly rasping, slightly breathless
Voice of a smoker,
The song reassuringly organic, overwhelmingly rural.
From the road below
We watch it’s red relentless approach as it consumes
The distance between us.
Silent, still as two wild animals caught in the glare
Of the approaching headlights,
The past, our future, the present morphing into one
Single blurred existence
That sees us free falling through the hypnotic regression
Of a tractor’s song.


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