Time-Keeping (1989)

My jigsaw jester builds a jigsaw room.
My mythical musician hides the Philosopher’s Stone.
My childhood eyes have been outgrown.
My sleeping watchmaker rests upon my tomb.

The old thorn lies lost.
Mornings are jewelled at the end of day.
The naked ring is sea-washed away.
My ancestor keeps my silent tusk.

Today, I am at Gloucester Cathedral:
Prism cathedral of age-changing time.
Tolls a bulb-deepened bell with umbilical chimes
And the pigeons scare spires like pterodactyls.

I wander through my brewery brain
Half-remembering half-thought things.
It ain’t over ‘til the gravedigger sings.
A moment is not recaptured again.

Highgate Cemetery

Five o’clock: my junkyard past:
A cemetery of hubcap hearts:
Routine rain: the childish sky:
In is in: my teabag eyes:

Legacies go and wills have been done:
Beginnings begin and amongs among:
Particular people leave impersonal dates:
Stony inscriptions: infertile gates:

Mothers and fathers mothered and fathered:
New generations bring newer nostalgia:
Ahead is a life full of differing seasons:
The palm of a hand makes good bedtime reading:

I turn my likely mouth to you;
Human wants as usual:
My fruit and nut is eaten up:
Karl Marx is out of luck.

The Pier
Your bones are old
As old as maritime.
Your tale is told:
A life, a lifetime.

An ending draws you away.
But weak eyes still want dignity.
The pier of human age.
The dark and daunting sea.

As the gallows are being built
The funeral-goers select requiems on the jukebox.
The wreath with the words written: i miss you.
The mourners with imminent tears
And coffin-bearers who inevitably step.
The hearse soon arrives.

Which path do I take
When I come to the crossroads?
My best foot forward
With hesitant toes.

At tea-time
I make a pot
And misread the tea-leaves
In my cup

Have a jar
At The Juggler’s Arms
And talk about
Our tricky plans.

While Birnam Wood
Begins to walk
Samson’s hair
Is permed too short.


The chances arrive
In fancy-dress.
Missed chances depart
Naked and obvious.

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