Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
If I am the grass and you the breeze, blow through me.
If I am the rose and you the bird, then woo me.
If you are the rhyme and I the refrain, don’t hang
on my lips, come and I’ll come too when you cue me.
If yours is the iron fist in the velvet glove
when the arrow flies, the heart is pierced, tattoo me.
If mine is the venomous tongue, the serpent’s tail,
charmer, use your charm, weave a spell and subdue me.
If I am the laurel that wreathes your brow, you are
the arms around my bark, arms that never knew me.
Oh would that I were bark! So old and still in leaf.
And you, dropping in my shade, dew to bedew me!
What shape should I take to marry your own, have you –
hawk to my shadow, moth to my flame – pursue me?
If I rise in the east as you die in the west,
die for my sake, my love, every night renew me.
If, when it ends, we are just good friends, be my Friend,
muse, brother and guide, Shamsuddin to my Rumi.
Be heaven and earth to me and I’ll be twice the me
I am, if only half the world you are to me.
We get up at four, sticky from sleep,
so Colin can get to the market.
When he has gone, I realise it’s raining.
The tube of indigo watercolour is almost empty
which shows how bad the weather has been this summer.
At Waterloo Station, the platform indicators flap and ruffle.
Trains leave and arrive. At home, email piles up silently
like snow. In town it’s so hot, the smell of waffles
fills every crevice.
Storms can sour milk, but ours is always cool and sweet.
Colin comes back, his yellow fleece soaked. He strides up
and down the lounge,
electricity clicking like silver castanets from his fingers.
My paperbacks rustle as he goes by. Soon it will be Autumn.
We go to bed at nine, diving into sleep in half-light,
The Sea Hare slips from water-forms,
scribes patterns in sand with ivory shells
and seagull bones to light paths unseen.
She rides the storms on ribbons of kelp,
stalks waves when they covet slivers
of painted wood or steel mirrors for vanity.
She spins, with sea hare skill, tunnels that twist
and shimmer in blue, green, black; sequins
them with plankton glow to guide lost
sailors home to her green-lit halls.
The slow old river soothes to her whispered
challenge; he falls into her web of tricks,
losing each game to give up small swimmers
he would hoard in rooms of woven weed.
The star flitted into her mouth.
She tried to cough it out, but too late,
for the star had run down her throat
tracing a thread of light
from her tongue to her stomach
where it glinted through membrane,
skin and dress. When the doctor
came, and warmed his stethoscope
in his palms, he listened
to the light that fizzed in her gut.
“What do you hear, she said.
“I can hear the Milky Way.
He’s crying for his mother.
He needs a transfusion.
The girl climbed to the top
of the hill, leaned back
on the evening grass,
her arms and legs stretched out
to the tips of her fingers and toes
and the star shone up to the sky
as the treetops, the anemones,
the gentle stellar winds, breathed them in.