Still no road

Since we declared the road betwen us closed
And let the gates be covered by the vine
That grows between the trees, and seems to twine
Around the very sunbeams, I supposed
You went on very well without me here.
I’d come through once before, and found the place
So little changed, the well-remembered space
As painful as before, and still as dear.
Today, the vines are withered in the frost,
The wall-stones slick and chilly on my hands
As, pausing at the top, I see it stands
Unchanged outside, but all its comfort lost.
And then I slide back down, for now I know
The road remains, but there’s nowhere to go.

(An answer to “No Road” by Philip Larkin. Originally posted on Making Light)

On being told to “have a ducky day”

I woke this morning, and I found a duck
Asleep beside me in the tousled bed.
I sat up, feeling something on my head,
And reached to touch it, shouting, “What on earth?”*
My toothpaste was all feathers, and my soap
Left slimy pond-weed trailing from my hands.
I got no toast – the quacking bread demands
Were just too much. I simply couldn’t cope.
My trip to work was very much a trip –
I stumbled over drakes and stepped on hens.
They shat on papers, shed on all my pens,
While ducklings drank my coffee, every sip.
And worse – it’s nine more days till they’re away:
The tenfold curse of “Have a ducky day!”

Originally posted on Making Light

The forest fires burn hotter

The forest fires burn hotter
But campfire coals are richer
Till quenched by sand and water
From fire-pail and pitcher.
The lust for human glimmer
Made all I had seem lightless.
My hoarded fires burned dimmer
In contrast to Man’s brightness.

To feed my need for fires
I left my mountain fastness.
A gleam like flaming pyres
Entranced me through the vastness.
Beyond my wooded valley
I saw a light, bright-burning
I made a winging sally
Emboldened by my yearning.

The roads were rich with red lights
Like coals they shone. I craved them
Yet brighter glowed the headlights.
I burned to keep, to save them.
But other sparkles drew me
As bees are drawn to flowers.
For I could, as I flew, see
The neon-shining towers.

I found a roof and landed
Where shadows would surround me.
My hidden perch commanded
A view of all around me.
And what I saw amazed me
When peering through the windows.
What did men as they gazed see
In panels with their dim glows?

I stayed awhile and learned from
The humans with their bright things.
I heard of “cash”, and earned some,
Enough to buy the right things.
For in the nights, while dreaming,
I knew that I must go back.
My hidden fires, still gleaming,
Without my care would go black.

Returning to my treasures
Within the mountains lightless
I rediscovered pleasures
Outwith electric brightness.
The embers glowed more redly
The fires had brighter spark
The lightning looked more deadly
Against a forest’s dark.

But still I miss the cities
That glisten, gleam and shine
With countless coloured pretties
All crying to be mine.
But Wi-fi goes a long way,
And now my laptop’s working.
I buy my lights on eBay,
And on this blog I’m lurking.

Originally posted on Making Light.

Making, an undragonish pursuit (also, clean your room)

The elder dragon stirs atop his hoard
And wakens, stretching out his scaly wings,
Rejoicing in the state of having things:
Possessions are, for him, their own reward.
He tallies up his silver and his gold,
Recalls the provenance of every gem,
But never feels the need to alter them:
He wasn’t born to make, but just to hold.
But we are not the same: we crave the new.
We strive to tell, to write, to sing, to build
Until the space around us is all filled
And still we carry on. It’s what we do.
But even we, when overwhelmed with stuff,
Must tidy up at times. Enough’s enough!

Originally posted on Making Light.

On whatever current fantasy creature we feel is overdone

Myth, that is intolerant
Of the coolly competent
And that treats with chill disdain
The practical mundane
Worships story and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives
Pardons arrogance and greed,
Calls heroic every deed.
Myth, that will no hero waste,
Pardons vampires and their taste,
And will pardon Happy Feet,
Pardons them, for being neat.

Originally posted on Making Light

On choosing risks

Prefer all vague and incoherent threats
To real harm today, and here, and now.
(And those who pose such problems, disavow:
For lives are unfit subjects for such bets.)
When faced with lesser evils, don’t forget
That evils they are still, and any good
Is dearly bought. When choosing evils, should
Inaction be an option, choose not yet.
The future keeps its counsel closely veiled.
Until then, all we have are guesses, made
For reasons good or ill, and blindly weighed
To fathom who’ll be right, and who has failed.
Until the ends are known, the means are all
On which to judge; with them we stand or fall.

Originally posted on Making Light