Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
My parrot with the ruffled feathers
is nobody’s business;
its squawk stabs the ears.
And such attitude!
You see it when it cocks its head;
catch its crazed gleam — and freeze!
When it flies
above you — duck!
My bird’s one wicked pet.
Yeah — it’s teaching me a thing or two.
I think back to making the tea,
filling the kettle from the cold water tap
as I looked out the kitchen window
at the stone walls and patches of yesterday’s snow,
then turning a knob on the stove,
putting a flaming wooden match to the gas jet,
and heating the cup with hot water,
as I thought of my mother doing the same.
I pulled a teabag from the little box
and a cloud in the shape of England passed over me.
The boiling water spit from the kettle,
and every season seemed sadder than the last one.
I cut a lemon wedge
and thought about my wife on another continent,
and when I lowered a spoonful
of shining honey into the dark water,
the sick and the poor
crossed my mind as well as soldiers and the police.
A Rhine maiden swam along the bottom of a river
and a man on crutches swung by.
A steaming cup and a room full of sunlight,
a good hand to lift the cup to my lips
and another to wave pen
over a wide open notebook –
for a few minutes, that was enough –
to be alone with tea
on a Sunday morning in February –
then came the poem and not knowing when it was done.
half bred upon mountain
hawk walk is wound
bottle fed from beak
lure of feathers
wide wingspan gate
red flame proof carpet
shreds a night world
the market place pedigree
leaving the time
scale & file
along car tail beam
head above city
spreading broken glass
we slide down peat bunker
dual blade grass
When your star is unseen in this desolate sky,
your despair itself becomes a star.
My twin, the steadfast sun, and I
both grasp its far-flung brilliance.
In a land where water is locked up
in the very depths of desiccated rocks,
the trees are ashamed of their wizened fruits.
The honest orchard is laid waste —
such a bloodied carpet
is spread before the future.
Yesterday, leaning on my cane,
I returned from the trees’ cremation.
Today, I search the ashes
for my lost, homeless phoenix.
Perhaps it was you who shadowed me,
perhaps it was only my shadow.
Even though the lucky men in my land
lack stars in the heavens, lack shadows on the earth
they welcome any stars
that grace their devastated sky.
O, my friend, my only friend,
turn your anguish into constellations!